Encouraging enterprise and providing access to finance

Our work in encouraging business start-ups—and providing access to finance to support the survival and growth of those start-ups—continues to foster innovation and competitiveness, to create new jobs, and to boost and protect our region’s economy.

This page tells you about our Enterprise/Access to Finance policy. To find out about the support we deliver in this area, please refer to our pages on starting your own business and funding for businesses.

Why are we concerned with enterprise?

There is a strong positive link between enterprise and prosperity: the world’s healthiest economies display high levels of new businesses start-up. Since the growth of Yorkshire & Humber’s business stock falls short of the UK average, we are working to bring about a long-term culture shift in Yorkshire & Humber, so that enterprise is more highly valued and entrepreneurs get the support they need. On a very positive note, the region’s 12- and 36-month business survival rates have equalled or exceeded the UK national average since 2004.

How are we approaching this strategy?

  1. We are stimulating an enterprise culture in Yorkshire & Humber
  2. We have developed a business start-up programme, providing business support for both individuals and SMEs
  3. We are delivering an access to finance programme, ensuring they have straightforward access to appropriate and sufficient levels of finance in order to grow those businesses.
1: Stimulating an enterprise culture
  • This policy aims to stimulate individuals to consider self-employment and, just as importantly, to develop enterprising employees who can contribute to the success of the organisation where they work. The programme takes into account the broad population diversity in Yorkshire & Humber, and aims to provide a seamless experience from either unemployment to employment or employment to self-employment. Additionally, Yorkshire Forward will:
  • build on the delivery of the two-day Enterprise Shows, one in each of the four sub-regions each year, to provide access to professional advice on both starting and developing a business: all under one roof, on one day
  • work with those local authorities awarded Local Enterprise Growth Initiative resources to provide a cohesive approach to enterprise awareness (particularly to the disadvantaged)
  • work with local authorities to ensure that enterprise becomes a central part of the education curriculum
  • lead on awareness programmes with higher education and further education institutions, to embed enterprise awareness within careers information, advice and guidance.
2: Encouraging business start-up

We will target and work with all potential entrepreneurs, providing a single, seamless programme of start-up support which will ensure so that individuals get the support they need. We will encourage all sorts of different people to start up a business, including sections of society which have not traditionally connected with mainstream business support. Yorkshire Forward will:

  • ensure that Business Link Yorkshire is understood by customers, stakeholders and intermediaries to be the single gateway for start-up information, diagnosis and brokered support
  • work with Business Link to ensure that business support follows the entrepreneur and the new business, so that the most appropriate support is available at each phase of start-up and growth
  • work with Business Link to ensure the future flow of capable, ambitious, well-informed and well-prepared entrepreneurs from all sections of society.
3: Access to Finance

Yorkshire Forward works with partners to provide appropriate finance to both new and growing businesses, traditionally through two routes: grants and publicly backed venture-capital-style funding. We will continue to deliver grant funding developed internally or on behalf of government; however, the vision is to deliver finance in a more cohesive, packaged format, syndicating grant funding with venture capital and loan funds wherever appropriate.

Access to finance is of particular importance to innovative, high-growth starts-ups. We will:

  • deliver a cohesive approach for start-ups to be both finance-ready and investor-ready. We will address the issue of unconvincing business plans, weaknesses in presentation, and lack of management team credibility. We will also bring together existing initiatives to provide entrepreneurs with the opportunity of increasing their investment attractiveness
  • deliver an access-to-finance portal with easier access to finance and consistency of application, approval procedures and legal offers. Entrepreneurs currently find it difficult to navigate access to the various grants and venture capital and loan funds (VCLFs) which do exist within Yorkshire and Humber, but which are marketed in individual and unstructured ways
  • lead the development of seedcorn capital to fund high-risk, early-stage entrepreneurs
  • lead on the development of a new regional venture capital fund to address the ‘equity gap’—the impact on start-ups of the significant down-turn in, or reluctance from, private-sector backing.


Support for our initiatives around enterprise and access to finance will be provided through Business Link Yorkshire, delivered locally with regional consistency, with private-sector specialists involved in the provision of start-up support. Access to finance will also address market failure in the provision of company financial support. Other partners active in business creation support will be involved in the co-ordination of support across the region. Local authorities, particularly those awarded with Local Enterprise Growth Initiative resources, will be integral to a regional approach to this work.