"No reason why Sheffield can’t become one of the country’s leading cities for business"
Amber Jardine is a hive manager at Sheffield business TwinklHive.
She said: “As a Chesterfield native, it has always been clear that Sheffield has a thriving business scene - but it wasn’t until I became the manager of TwinklHive, an accelerator hub for startups, in 2019 that I realised just how much innovative work is going on in this city.
“TwinklHive was set up by Twinkl, a Sheffield-based educational publisher with global reach. Our goal is to support promising new tech start-ups by providing investment, mentorship and access to services like marketing and business development. “Our applications are open all year round and we’ve already worked with some great local companies, but it’s the wider startup community in Sheffield which has most surprised me.
“There’s so much entrepreneurial talent within the city. I get to work with young entrepreneurs through our national scholarship fund, which is currently accepting applicants for its second cohort, and through our training programmes. It’s inspiring to see people leaving Sheffield’s schools and universities already armed with great business ideas to make the world a better place.
“Through my role I’ve got to meet so many interesting people from all walks of life and speak at a range of events, including those hosted by the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and the Department for International Trade. I’ve sat on a variety of round tables to discuss key issues faced by startups and it’s a huge privilege to be able to contribute to those conversations.
“When I began working in Sheffield it didn’t take me long to notice that there’s a great independent business spirit here, whether it’s the quirky independent shops and cafes on Division Street and Abbeydale Road, or the stalls in the Moor Market. “There are so many local businesses that have a unique character which adds to the overall personality of the city. “People here have a local pride and are genuinely passionate about Sheffield, so it’s a great place to be based.
“There have always been pockets of small business communities independently doing great things, but now these are starting to become connected across the city. Besides the Hive, there are several other organisations offering investment and support for new businesses, and we’re proud to be a founding member of the new Sheffield Incubator & Accelerator Network (SIAN).
“The opportunities for new businesses are there and they’re easier to find than before. Communities like Sheffield Digital and Sheffield Women in Tech are helping to unite entrepreneurs from across the city and there are so many people who are passionate about helping new businesses succeed here.
“It really seems like Sheffield is becoming a place where startups - especially in the tech industry - decide to base themselves because they know there is such a wide pool of talent here which they can use to expand their teams. Natterhub, Airsupply and Champion Health are amongst a few companies that the Hive supports who have taken desk space in the
“The Twinkl offices are on Ecclesall Road, and I love watching their teams grow as they go from strength to strength.
“And that’s the real goal: to establish our city as a national hub for exciting new businesses and encourage them to look outside London and Manchester when it comes to picking a base.
“In 2020 Sheffield companies received a total of £6.2billion in investment, placing us ahead of major UK cities like Birmingham and Liverpool, and with new opportunities on the horizon the future looks bright. Just last month Capital Enterprise announced a £5.9m investment to grow the tech startup ecosystem in South Yorkshire. It feels like Sheffield has traditionally been seen as an underdog but there’s no reason why we can’t become one of the country’s leading cities for business.
“It’s an incredibly exciting community to be involved in and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Sheffield. Twinkl was once a startup in our CEO’s spare bedroom and now has more than 790 team members and operates in over 200 countries and regions around the world, so it’s great to be able to give back to the city’s business community.”