We provide expert advice about working for yourself, covering topics including
- business development
- understanding market opportunities
- identifying business models
- writing business plans
- legal structures
Contact us to book an appointment.
You can also speak to our resident entrepreneur, Kevin Smith, for advice and support – just drop into the Careers and Employability Centre any Tuesday from 2–4pm.
Business – Karen Wood, Every Tuesday afternoon 1–5pm
Karen joined the Research and Innovation Office in 2010. She has a scientific background, working for both the NHS and in research institutes for several years before moving into product management and technology transfer roles. She successfully increased the turnover of the life sciences business at ICRT (now Cancer Research UK) more than four-fold in four years.
She has also worked at the University of Bedfordshire, leading the University's enterprise and entrepreneurship agenda, and most recently as the business incubation manager at Sheffield Technology Parks (STP), supporting young companies as well as driving business development and marketing at STP itself.
Karen has a wealth of project management experience to pass on to Hatchery members and has been supporting business start-up for about 10 years. She is Women's Ambassador in the East of England, a self-employed business consultant and also works as a school enterprise champion for Sheffield City Council.
Business – Jill White, Every Wednesday afternoon 1–5pm
Jill White joined the Research and Innovation Office team in 2010 having been involved in coaching, mentoring and advising start ups and existing businesses for a number of years.
Jill has been self employed since September 1994 and has a real passion for young entrepreneurs and women in business. She is a board member of Inspiring Women, Common Purpose and Whirlow Hall Farm Trust and has strong networks across the business community.
Meeting the right people at the right time is critical to any new business venture and Jill is able to utilise the many contacts she has made over the years on behalf of Hatchery students to provide speedy introductions and ensure start up businesses make the right connections from day one.
Jill is inspired by the talent, creativity, passion and persistence of start up entrepreneurs and looks to promote Hatchery businesses at every opportunity as well as introducing young entrepreneurs to relevant networks and encouraging them to be active members of the thriving business community.
Business – Darren McDool, Every Thursday morning 9am–1pm
Working with small, new start businesses in the South Yorkshire area since 2000, Darren is a business coach at Rotherham Youth Enterprise, providing a broad range of support to the under 30s looking for help with running or starting a business. As one of our business advisers, he sees his role as challenging clients and working with them on the fine detail of their business ideas to develop a workable business plan.
Business – Kevin Smith, Fortnightly on Tuesday 9am–1pm
Kevin's journey started after his third redundancy in six years. He scraped together about £500 to attend government-funded business start-up workshops covering many aspects of starting a business. He also picked up a business partner.
From this inauspicious start, the duo grew the business, achieving annual sales in excess of £1m. Their customer base included leading companies in aerospace, food and utilities and they became an established SME.
Such rapid and significant growth presented many challenges and in that period he made some good decisions that enhanced that growth.
He's been working with people going through start up and early stage trading for 11 years, drawing on his own experiences.
Product development – Gripple, Every Wednesday morning 9.30am – by appointment
If you are thinking about starting a new business or have invented a product then the Engineers at Gripple are here to help. We are able to give you advice on a range of subjects from manufacturing processes to market research. Coming from an internationally successful and share-holder owned business we can help by passing on the ideas behind the ethos that makes Gripple work so well.
No idea is a bad Idea and we will work through the process with you in order to get your product to market or business up and running.
Marketing – Tracy Viner, First Tuesday of the month 9am–1pm
If you want to know how to promote your business to potential clients, our marketing advisor Tracy Viner can help.
She's the marketing and development manager at the Cathedral Archer Project (a homeless day centre) and owns her own marketing consultancy. She has a wide range of business experience and has worked in many different organisations, including seven years as a fundraising manager for Macmillan Cancer Support which raised over £2.5 million in the local area.
Tracy holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Marketing from Sheffield Hallam and a CIM Diploma. She's a member of the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce Council, deputy chair of the Social Economy Forum and is a past president of JCI Sheffield.
Tracy's company Tracy Viner Limited helps businesses, regardless of size, to develop the best marketing strategy possible in order to maximise their potential. And she can help you promote your business to potential clients.
The best piece of advice Tracy has received is "Always be true to yourself."
Marketing – Claire Taylor, Third Monday of the month 1–5pm
Claire joined the Research and Innovation Office in 2012. She has been self-employed, running two businesses for the past three years.
Claire has had over 25 years of employment experience in a number of sectors but had spent the last 16 years working within a Russell Group university, supporting both students and academics. She is an experienced manager, trainer and coach.
As well as running her own businesses, Claire acts as a business mentor for a number of organisations in the Sheffield region. She is also an enterprise coach for Barnsley Development Agency working with the management of expanding Barnsley SMEs.
Claire particularly enjoys finding creative ways for companies to engage with their target audience to improve their reach and brand awareness. Having recently set up her own businesses, she fully understands the journey and how incredibly important having professional support in the right areas is for the success of your start-up. With limited finances available to most start-ups, marketing activity has to be carefully planned and executed.
Accountancy – Julie Robinson, Last Wednesday of the month 9am–1pm
Footprints Accountancy is proud to continue to support Sheffield Hallam University.
Whilst some generalisation can be made about starting up a business, it is always necessary to tailor the strategy to fit your situation. Any plan must take account of your circumstances and aspirations. Whilst business success can never be guaranteed, professional advice can help to avoid some of the problems which befall new businesses.
Julie welcomes the opportunity to help you formulate a strategy suitable for your own requirements. She can also provide key services such as bookkeeping, management accounts, VAT return and payroll preparation at an early stage.
Legal – Nabarro Solicitors: Last Thursday of the month 1–5pm
Elliot Jackson, Misbah Imtiaz, Richard Lee for Nabarro Solicitors has its own group dedicated to entrepreneurs and entirely focused on the specialised needs of early stage businesses. It has been closely involved with young growing companies for many years and can offer advice on how best to meet your business needs.
Associates from their corporate team can offer clear legal advice for entrepreneurs on a wide range of areas including
- raising equity or bank finance
- commercial contracts
- protecting intellectual property rights
- real estate contracts
- dispute resolution
- employment advice
- share incentive plans
- terms of business
They are renowned for their positive, practical approach and for providing a friendly, accessible, business-savvy service.
IP (Intellectual Property) – Graham Hulse, By appointment
Graham Hulse, intellectual property and commercial contracts manager with the Technology Transfer and Commercial Contracts teams. He offers intellectual property advice on areas including
- registered and unregistered design rights
- trade marks
Web Development – Will Squires and Nick Hurford, Second Monday of the Month 1–5pm
PineGreen can help with any website or IT-related queries.
As graduates of Sheffield Hallam University themselves, Nick Hurford and Will Squires joined the Research and Innovation Office in August 2013, shortly after starting their own business from the Hatchery.
Throughout their time in the Hatchery on the Graduate Start-up Grant scheme, they advised many start-up businesses on all kinds of web-related queries – including web design, development, hosting, search engine optimisation and e-commerce. Helping people with their web strategy is something they both enjoy, so becoming IT advisers was a natural fit.
Since leaving the Hatchery they have moved into a new office on Mowbray Street.
Social Enterprise – Rory Ridley-Duff, By appointment
Rory Ridley-Duff worked for 15 years as an ICT/management consultant in the social economy before becoming a senior lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University in the Sheffield Business School. Following his appointment he established Sheffield Hallam's MSc Co-operative and Social Enterprise Management.
As the co-founder of the social enterprise FairShares Association and the director of Social Enterprise Europe Ltd, Rory has a wealth of knowledge to support individuals who have their ventures firmly rooted in delivering positive social change.
Intellectual property - how to protect your ideas
Have you come up with a new product, design or innovation you want to protect? Complete our Bright Ideas form (Word 226kb) to see how our intellectual property service could help.
Intellectual property (IP) is an umbrella term which covers all creative outputs generated by an individual or organisation, including everything from new ideas to new products.
We understand it's important to protect your outputs, which is why our specialist advisors can help you copyright or patent your idea or product to ensure the best possible protection.
For more information about intellectual property please download our guide (PDF 338kb).
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