A view from the hatchery: Part 4


A view from the hatchery: Part 4

In our latest blog from the EntrepreneurialSpark hatchery we hear the lessons the entrepreneurs are learning on their journey.

Blog Author Image
Fiona Gowing
Founder/Director, Bitzbags Ltd
Blog Author Image
Joanne Robinson
Founder and CEO of the Little Art School
Blog Author Image
John Bellingham
Xebo
Blog

10 July 2015

The Little Art School aims to encourage and nurture Scotland’s young artists.

 

Fiona Gowing

Founder/Director, Bitzbags Ltd

I started the Entrepreneurial Spark programme with a new product concept and basic prototype.  Being part of Entrepreneurial Spark has been the catalyst that my business needed.  Working within the Hatchery has provided me with a place to focus ON my business, to develop and test my product and to network with like-minded people.  The support from the Enablement team has been truly invaluable.  Frank, the Ayrshire Enabler, has both challenged and supported me at each stage, as the product and business has developed, empowering me to make informed choices and learn about my style as a business leader. Trish, the RBS Financial Enabler, has made sure that I know my business finances inside out so I’m ready for anything!  Being in Entrepreneurial Spark takes hard work.  It is a bit like doing a university degree in Business Management, but instead of learning all the theory, you are working on a real life project - your own business!  Your learning in business is therefore alive!

Entrepreneurs can face challenges in the form of isolation, not knowing who to contact to get the right help, lack of start-up finance and often trying to do everything at once.  Being part of Entrepreneurial Spark opens up a network of like-minded people who help each other to learn and grow.  Entrepreneurial Spark also helps entrepreneurs take a strategic and realistic look at their business, and it helps businesses become aware of, and link in with, key people of influence such as RBS, local authorities, Business Gateway and Scottish Enterprise.



 

                                                                                                   Joanne Robinson

                                                                                                            Founder and CEO of the Little Art School

I am an accidental entrepreneur. I quietly opened my first Little Art School in a basement of an art gallery 18 months ago, teaching my structured drawing and painting course to a handful of children. By the time I arrived at Entrepreneurial Spark I had moved out of the basement and opened two schools. With a talented team of people I was developing a business to roll out across the UK. As a former military officer with no experience of the business world, I was living in a state of perpetual bewilderment. Enter Entrepreneurial Spark!

In the last six months Entrepreneurial Spark has been a source of support, practical help and an incredible education. The greatest lesson for me has been that to progress as an entrepreneur you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Entrepreneurs explore unmapped territory every day. Courage isn’t enough; you need a compass, a map and some company. That is what Entrepreneurial Spark has been for me.

My three words to describe Entrepreneurial Spark are: Challenger, Cheerleader and Teacher. My time at Entrepreneurial Spark has let me dare to dream big and then given me the push to #GoDo.



 

John Bellingham

Xebo

So far, our Entrepreneurial Spark journey has been brilliant. It has kept us laser-focused on what we need to do in our business.  Frank and Marianne (our Enablers) have helped us to identify the 'gaps' that we need to close, how to close those gaps, and most importantly provided accountability to ensure we deliver. 

Being an entrepreneur can be quite a lonely existence, but being in a ‘can-do’ environment (i.e. the Hatchery) with a group of like-minded entrepreneurs is a breath of fresh air and only serves to inspire.

The road to entrepreneurial success is never an easy one, and you will of course experience some ‘knock-downs' along the way, however if you commit to always getting up, rather than giving up, then nothing can stop you achieving what you set out to do.

One of our biggest challenges has been trying to articulate exactly what our business offers, however under the mentorship of Entrepreneurial Spark, and after a few pivots, it’s now clear what we’re offering and to whom.  

Our business, ‘Xebo.co.uk’ (pronounced zee-bo), via our website and mobile App, provides consumers with easy access to local repairers, in times of a domestic product failure (e.g. when your TV or dishwasher breaks down).

We are focused on two activities currently; we are committed to building the largest and best-connected network of repair businesses in the UK; and we want to provide the easiest and most effective service for consumers to allow them to better manage their domestic products and warranties.

If I was to sum up Entrepreneurial Spark in three words, it would be; vibrant, positive, and inspirational.

I started the Entrepreneurial Spark programme with a new product concept and basic prototype.  Being part of Entrepreneurial Spark has been the catalyst that my business needed.  Working within the Hatchery has provided me with a place to focus ON my business, to develop and test my product and to network with like-minded people.  The support from the Enablement team has been truly invaluable.  Frank, the Ayrshire Enabler, has both challenged and supported me at each stage, as the product and business has developed, empowering me to make informed choices and learn about my style as a business leader. Trish, the RBS Financial Enabler, has made sure that I know my business finances inside out so I’m ready for anything!  Being in Entrepreneurial Spark takes hard work.  It is a bit like doing a university degree in Business Management, but instead of learning all the theory, you are working on a real life project - your own business!  Your learning in business is therefore alive!

Entrepreneurs can face challenges in the form of isolation, not knowing who to contact to get the right help, lack of start-up finance and often trying to do everything at once.  Being part of Entrepreneurial Spark opens up a network of like-minded people who help each other to learn and grow.  Entrepreneurial Spark also helps entrepreneurs take a strategic and realistic look at their business, and it helps businesses become aware of, and link in with, key people of influence such as RBS, local authorities, Business Gateway and Scottish Enterprise.

 

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