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Self Starter of the Week 2015 - Hall of Fame

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2015 Self Starter of the Year Hall of Fame

Having founded Startacus - the self start society back in 2012 we appreciate that self starters (Entrepreneurs, Startups, Creatives) like to talk - about themselves, about their ideas, about their projects, and about their businesses.Self Starter of the Week 2015

We also love giving credit to as many self starters as possible and so the Self Starter Awards are a great way of merging both these passions together.

Launched back in 2013 the Startacus Self Starter Awards aim to recognise the work of early stage self starters / entrepreneurs / startup folk... this year we return with another fab package of prizes in our Self Starter Awards  2015.  Through this we will continue to celebrate our passion for recognising the great and sometimes unsung entrepreneurs, startups and all round self-starting folk of the UK and Ireland.

Once again the prizes up for grabs come from a wide array of companies, including lead sponsor Marketest and top brands like FreeAgent, Monkfeet, NetLawman, 123-reg, StartupZap & Startacus itself!

To give you an overview of the awards here’s some current and past details:

2015 -UK and Ireland Entrepreneurs & Startups take note - The Self Starter Awards are back!

2014 Self Starter Awards

2013 Self Starter Awards

Each weekly selected Self Starter will appear on Startacus and be promoted on social media, and highlighted in on our exclusive Self Starter of the Week hall of fame.  At the end of 2015, 6 of our favorite self -starters will be given the chance to pitch to our community, who will then vote to decide our Self Starter of the year 2015!  (The winners of 2nd and 3rd place will also win some really fab prizes!)

Check out the 2015 Hall of Fame entries below, and if you have been selected you can find out how to pitch to be awarded the Self Starter of the Year title (& fab prizes) at the start of 2016.

The Startacus Self Starter of the Week Hall of Fame

Monday 1st June 2015

Derek Ahmedzai
Derek Ahmedzai

We’ve awarded Derek as our first Self Starter of the Week for 2015 for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Derek has been a returning member to Startacus for some time, and whilst we don’t just award familiarity, it’s kept Derek and his plans on the radar. Secondly and most importantly, it was only recently that we picked up on Derek's latest project  Fundsurfer, after he listed it in our startup showcasing area.

Startacus member

Fundsurfer is a funding platform for creative, social and green projects and is making waves at the present moment (pardon the pun). It’s proof that highlighting your big idea on Startacus can work, as we are now delighted to sing Derek’s praises and award him as our first Self Starter of the Week for 2015. Congrats Derek and we look forward to hearing more about Fundsurfer as time goes on!

You can connect with Derek on Startacus here and check out the Fundsurfer page on Startacus here.

Monday 8th June 2015

Kelly Gilmour-Grassam

Self Starter of the WeekKelly has been awarded as our latest Self Starter of the Week as she is proof that hard work and gaining valuable work and life experience, can help create your own job, business venture and future. With an abundance of experience blogging and writing contentStartacus member for others, Kelly took the leap and set up Making You Content (just over 12 months ago). Lat month we interviewed Kelly on her business journey and venture and we are now delighted to offer Kelly a pat on the back for her endeavours to date. Expect to hear more about Kelly in the future we thinks! 

You can connect with Kelly on Startacus here and also check out here Twitter account to congratulate her directly!

Monday 15th June 2015

Aya Ahmad

Self Starter of the WeekSportable
 is a mobile application that allows recreational sports players to discover and organise local activities. Here at Startacus we love Apps and online platforms that are aiming to make activities, education and support more accessible and therefore choosing Aya as our latest Self Starter of the Week seemed like an obvious decision to make. Aya has a recent degree in Investment and Financial Risk Management, so we are intrigued to find out more about Aya and her journey from economics to the frantic world of Startups as co-founder of Sportable.

Startacus memberCongrats to Aya and we look forward to hopefully hearing more from Aya and Sportable over the coming weeks! 

You can connect with Aya on Startacus here and also Tweet her directly to pass on your congrats!

Monday 22nd June 2015

Magdalene Adenaike

Self Starter of the Week 2015Startacus co-founder Alastair had the pleasure of meeting Magdalene at a recent event in London. Magdalene Adenaike, is the CEO and founder of Music Relief, an enterprise that offers empowerment training workshop within the education, charities, corporate and voluntary sectors. The organisation aims to take the participants on a journey of discovery, transforming their lives creatively. The reason Magdalene is a Self Starter? Music Relief came about due to her personal experience as an ex teenage mum and her passion for music, helped her to not only grow as a person,Startacus member but understand the impact it can have on someone's own life and the lives of others. Turning a passion into a fully trading business can be a hard task and we want to offer-up a little encouragement to Magdalene for her energy and efforts to date. Congrats Magdalene.

You can connect with Magdalene on Startacus and also Tweet her directly to pass on your congrats too! Magdaline is now in the running for the Self Starter 2015 title and prizes - read more about that here!

 Monday 29th June 2015

Darren Milligan

Darren Mulligan In recent weeks, Startacus has had the pleasure of reporting on many exciting entrepreneurial and startup things happening within the Derry area of Northern Ireland.   From joining international technology players at the Digital Derry Conferenc to hosting out own creative startup meetup event, we have had a marvellous time.  It seems only right then, that we turn to this marvellous city, for this weeks self starter of the week.   Darren Milligan is the founder of new music tutorial platform 'Grasp Music', a site which not only aims to offer the best in music tuition the world has to offer, but alsoto ensure that tutors are given a fair deal for the work that they do.  Darren's business has been created out of passDarren Milliganion alone;  his passion for music, his passion for helping musicians, and ultimately the passion and belief he has in his idea.  These, combined with his complete determination to turn his dream into a reality, make him an excellent choice for our latest self-starter of the week.   Check out our recent interview with Darren, and see for yourself.    

You can connect with Darren on Startacus or tweet him to pass on your congratualtions!  Darren is now in the running for the Self Starter of the Year 2015 title and prizes- read more about that here!

W/C 13th July 2015

Youssef Darwich

Self Starter of the WeekWe've been following the exploits of JobMine since Youssef and the team first came to our attention having been approved as a finalist in the inaugural MassChallenge Business Accelerator and as a Startacus member we take a special note of member success! Youssef has also listed his Startup in our showcasing area for our members! 

Darren Milligan
JobMine is a new platform dedicated to connecting the right job seekers and employers as easily and quickly as possible. Their aim is to plug the gap and cut out the middle-man in certain sectors of the job market - bars, restaurants, retail, small and medium size businesses, temp jobs, to name but a few. Youssef has moved from a post-grad career in finance to the dizzy world of Startups, and as an active Startacus member, we wanted to highlight not only his own journey, but the organisations like MassChallenge and other fab support providers that have helped him to take his business idea and make it into a living and breathing reality. 

Congrats Youssef, our latest Self Starter of the Week! 

You can connect with Youssef on Startacus, watch the JobMine pitch video in their showcasing space or tweet him here to pass on your congratualtions!  Youssef is now in the running for the Self Starter of the Year 2015 title and prizes- read more about that here!

 W/C 20th July 2015

Joseph Devereux - Kelly

Self Starter of the WeekThere are two things we really love here at Startacus. Startups and Coffee. Not that they have to be linked of course and we love other things too - but anyhow we digress! So when we checked out the details on recent Startacus member Joseph, who is knee deep working on a product called 'Cool Coffee', a new refreshing summer coffee drink - we was intrigued!

We've given Joseph our latest Self Starter of the Week Award, because as Darren Milliganyou know the process of setting up a new business / startup isn't always a smooth one, so we reckon a little pat on the back and encouragement from Startacus might be nice touch. Congrats Joseph - you are our latest Self Starter of the Week and we drink to your success! 

You can connect with Joseph on Startacus or tweet him here to pass on your congratualtions!  Joseph is now in the running for the Self Starter of the Year 2015 title and prizes- read more about that here!

 W / C 27th July 2015 

Luke McLachlan

Self Starter of the Week Luke McLachlanWhat defines a self-starter?  Every day we come across people who are worthy candidates for such a description.  But often, the self starter spirit is most aptly encapsulated by the self-employed person; the one who has tossed caution to the wind, and dramatically altered their life in pursuit of their enterprising dream.  Such a person is Luke McLachlan.

Luke is the founder of, the UK's first consumer price comparison website for domestic renewable biomass fuels. He started out as an economics graduate, and later became a professional cyclist in Spain, before building a bSelf Starter of the Week Luke McLachlanusiness in Scandinavia which he sold to pursue a career as a currency trader in London.  The inspiration for his latest idea came at the most unexpected of moments.  In the late winter of 2013/14, after installing a wood-burning stove at his home he discovered how difficult finding firewood for it was.  Spotting a gap in the market, was born! Luke now spends the vast majority of his time tending to his new business, determined to turn his bright spark idea, into a roaring success.

You can connect with Luke on Startacus or tweet him here to pas on your congratualtions. Luke is now in the running for the Self Starter of the Year 2015 title and prizes- read more about that here!

w/c 10th August

Merissa Bajaj

Self Starter of the WeekOur latest Self Starter of the Week is Marissa Bajaj, a mother of 3 who decided to start her own business selling baby gifts.

Marissa quit her full-time job to make sure that she could combine bringing up her childiren with being her own boss. Marissa is now 4 months into the venture which is called Baby Tower Gifts and we thought it an apt Startacus membermoment to give Marissa an online pat-on-the-back for taking the step into starting her own business. Congrats Marissa you are our latest and well deserving Self Starter of the Week! Keep up the hard work and we look forward to hearing more about your business over the coming weeks and months. 

You can connect with Marissa on Startacus or tweet her here to pas on your congratualtions. Luke is now in the running for the Self Starter of the Year 2015 title and prizes- read more about that here!

w/c 17th August 2015

Kieran Moore

Self Starter of the WeekKieran Moore has been a member of the Startacus community for a few months now, and we have been tracking his progress since featuring his digital marketing / advertising platform Socialhub on Startacus. Kieran highlighted that his working class background both spurred him on to become the only person in his house to go to university, and then empower him to start his own Advertising platform (After a Degree in Creative Advertising Technologies) to help small business owners market their
Startacus member

event, bar, restaurant and so on. We are inspired by Kieran's tenacity to work hard, get out on the streets to pitch his digital business SocialHub to traditional enterprises in his area!  Therefore we are delighted to name Kieran as our latest Self Starter of the Week. Congrats Kieran! 

You can connect with Kieran on Startacus or tweet him here to pass on your congrats. Kieran is now in the running for the Self Starter of the Year 2015 title and prizes- read more about that here!

Our Summer Holiday winners! (Startacus had a holiday and wanted to catch up on the weekly awards in one go!)

Oli Monks

Oli MonksOli is well versed in our Self Starter Awards. 

As a matter of fact, last year he was awarded our self starter of the week title, in recognition of his innovative mobile app Stride, which allows thinkers to note down their thoughts seamlessly whilst on the move!. In true self starter form he Startacus membercontinues to do impressive things that are keeping him on our radar.  Most recently, was the launch of his innovative new travel startup BagSee (cool name!) which takes the misery out of packing for your travels.  It is a backpack complete with 30 essential items built by travellers, for travellers.  It's a super cool time-saving idea, and so we are giving Oli a big thumbs up as an extra little push of encouragement!  Be sure to let him know what you think of his idea!!

You can connect with Oli on Startacus, or tweet him here to pass on your congratulations.  Oli is now in the running for the Self Starter of the Year 2015 title and prizes- read more about that here!

Jason Karayiannis

Jason KarayiannisWe love nothing more than when ambitious folk reach out and grab opportunities with both hands... it's kind of what being a self starter is all about!

That's what Jason did a few weeks ago when we gave someone within our community the opportunity to represent us at the TV and Technology conference MediaCon.  Since attending the conference in Dublin, and writing a fabulous little review of proceedings, we have learned rather a lot more about Jason... and we like what we see!  He is, in his own words, 'a storytellingStartacus member connoisseur (we like!) who heads up @onwrd, his own photography and videography studio based just outside of Belfast. 

As though that weren't enough, he also runs a leather goods brand called Father's Father, which brings the quality, handmade leather items of yesteryear into the 21st Century!

An inspiring self starter, and most certainly worthy of this title!

You can connect with Jason on Startacus, or tweet him here to pass on your congratulations.  Jason is now in the running for the Self Starter of the Year 2015 title and prizes- read more about that here!

Jill from Polyfacets

Jill from PolyfactsWe could not be happier to be able to award Jill this title.  Her startup PolyFacets is perhaps one of the most interesting and creative self starter projects that we have every come across... and it's really REALLY cool to boot!  Asside from having a very Startacus memberappropriate name, PolyFacets allows you to create your own colourful and creative masks from PDF plans which can be printed from any old run-of-the-mill printer!  But these are not like the masks you might pick up in a costume shop.  Jill is an artists with a particular interest and talent for 3D design, and she has utlised these gifts to create stunning, unusual, and very distinctive home-crafted masks!

She joined Startacus in search of some friendly help with her marketing, so please feel free to offer her some advice!

You can connect with Jill on Startacus or tweet her here to pass on your congratulations! Jill is now in the running for the Self Starter of the Year 2015 title and prizes- read more about that here!

Eduardo Cordova from Excuses to Meet

Self Starter of the WeekEduardo is the co-founder of Excuses to Meet, a growing social app which aims to make London smaller (and a little less scary!). Excuses to Meet is actually the result of many pivots of what started as a project providing a skills exchange, where people could trade skills with others nearby.

Eduardo recently did a Q & A on Stratacus about the App and we thought it right to celebrate all of his efforts, sweat, and pivots! Pivoting, as many a startup founder and colleague will know is part and
Startacus member parcel of the startup journey, so we hope that Excuses to Meet is the final end result of all that hard work.

Congrats Eduardo, you are a well deserved Startacus Self Starter of the Week winner!

You can connect with Eduardo on Startacus so why not pass on your congratulations? Jill is now in the running for the Self Starter of the Year 2015 title and prizes- read more about that here!

Tara Annison

Self Starter of the WeekHead of Growth for StudentViewUK, the student property rating website. is the home of student reviews and gives students a platform to tell others about their experience when renting private sector accommodation.

Tara recently added StudentView into our showcasing space and also answered some Q & A's about StudentView so we thought it only right to high-5 Tara and the StudentView team to celebrate their growing space!
Startacus member

You can connect with tara on Startacus  so why not pass on your congratulations? Jill is now in the running for the Self Starter of the Year 2015 title and prizes- read more about that here!

Susi Wisniewski

Self Starter of the WeekSusi is the CEO of TripLinks, a social travel app that has come from years of hard work on a ‘big idea’! Working on your idea, whilst also sustaining a career, and a family, can be hard going especially with a newborn baby and a packed consultancy schedule! This husband and wife team are truly to be admired!

TripLinks is a social travel app connecting lone travellers away from home and is currently launching in beta, so we thought this was an apt time to celebrate their tenacity and effort and award Susi as a Startacus Self
Startacus memberStarter of the Week! Go team TripLinks!

You can connect with Susi on Startacus  so why not pass on your congratulations? Jill is now in the running for the Self Starter of the Year 2015 title and prizes- read more about that here!

Adam Stewart

Self Starter of the WeekAdam recently won a ticket to attend Apps World London through Startacus and he is a fine example of a young entrepreneur who is always looking to immerse himself into the world of startups and entrepreneurship!

He's a Director of two startups. A Business Economics student at Lancaster University. Badminton Lover and now a Startacus Self Starter of the Week.
Startacus member

Keep up the great work Adam, we will be keeping a very close eye on you!  Being a self starter, of course he has his own website, check it out

You can connect with Adam on Startacus  so why not pass on your congratulations? Adam is now in the running for the Self Starter of the Year 2015 title and prizes- read more about that here


Sallie Bale

Sallie BaleSallie Bale is well deserving of the title of Self Starter if the week! Not only is she the founder of Communica PR but she has just launched a disruptive new PR service for Startups call The Startup PR Academy, which takes Startacus memberthe novel approach of equipping startup founders will the skills and knowledge necessary to take care of their own PR and compete in increasingly competitive markets! She has given away free memberships to her academy to people from our Startup community, and has also contributed some fantastic expert PR advice for the use of our readers!

As her businesses continue to go from strength to strength we hope that this small token of appreciation will spur her further on her quest to make excellent PR more accessible and achievable to entrepreneurs of all kinds.

Why not connect with Sallie via Startacus and tweet her to congratulate her. Sallie is now in the running for the Self Starter 2015 title and prizes - read more about that here!

Anurag Shachindra Chaturvedi

Self Starter of the WeekStartacus co-founder Alastair Cameron recently had the pleasure of meeting Anurag at the recent Apps World Startup Launch competition, where his co-founded business, Lin was pitching. Although LIN didn’t win, Alastair (who was on Startacus memberthe judging panel) was incredibly impressed with the passion he and the whole team showed for their Startup - a real time contact management application where the owner of the data keeps it updated and the receiver sees the latest detail at all times. Alastair particularly praised Anurag’s passion, energy and determination to make their product a success, and for this we have decided that he is a worthy winner of a self starter of the week title!

Why not connect with Anurag on Startacus, and send him a congratulatory tweet! Anurag is now in the running for the Self Starter of the Year 2015 title and prizes- read more about that here

James Gordon

James GordonMany of our self starters are people doing amazing things within the Tech startup scene, but being a self starter is about so much more than be a disrupter of technology. James Gordon is a prime example of this. He is in the process of opening an inclusive and accessible fine dining eatery in Bristol, the creatively named Chocolate Bear Kitchen. With over 10 years of experience in AA Rosette; Michelin rated and organic restaurants; eventsStartacus member and private catering, he has now thrown caution to the wind to pursue his real passion of owning and running his own quality restaurant! He is the precise embodiment of the self starter spirit and we are therefore delighted to select him as a winner.

Why not connect with James via Startacus, or send him your congratulations via twitter! James is now in the running for the Self Starter of the Year 2015 title and prizes read more about that here

Simon Pusey

For many of today’s startups facilitating convenience on the things that we need every day is at the heart of what they do, and that Simon Huseycertainly goes for Simon and his new Startup Feast. Feast is a London-based startup which delivers high-quality restaurant food throughout the night at times when most other delivery services are closed (10pm - 5am). James is an excellent example of self-starter spirit, having given up a highly successful career as a journalist and TV presenter, to fill a gap in the UK market which he identified whilst working in China. He saw with what ease people there can have all manner of things Startacus memberdelivered any time of the day or night, and decided to start a business which would bring this convenience to the UK. Thus the disruptive food delivery startup Feast was born! We send huge congratulations to Simon, and hope that Feast continues to go from strength to strength!

Why not connect with Simon on Startacus, check out Feast in our Showcasing area, and congratulate him on Twitter. Simon is now in the running for the Self Starter of the Year 2015 title and prizesread more about that here!

Ian Gibbons

Ian GibbonsIan recently came to our attention when he listed his Startup Zorce in our online showcase area. With 18 years of experience working in recruitment, Ian is aiming to disrupt... nay 
Startacus memberrevolutionise how companies hire staff. We look forward to seeing how Zorce will do this, but anyone who has taken 5 years and 2 million lines of code to get to the point of launch, which is the case with Ian, deserves a mention and pat on the back, so congrats Ian, Self Starter of the Week title to you and your name is added to our 2015 Hall of Fame
Why not connect with Ian here on Startacus and congratulate him on TwitterIan is now in the running for the Self Starter of the Year 2015 title and prizes - more details on this to be announced tomorrow!

Marion Rose McFaddenMarion has been a Startacus member for a few months now, and we wanted to award her for all of her endeavours, hard work, and studies. Marion recently wrote and released interactive digital fairy stories in Irish and English, completed a MSc in Technology Management, with a Post-Grad in Tech Commercialisation, all whilst running an Initiative UsIrish, that links Irish diaspora with artists and crafts-people back in Ireland. A self-starter if ever we saw one!  So with 2015 nearing the end, we thought it right to congratulate Marion on her efforts and wish her luck for future success! 
Startacus member

Why not connect with Marion here on Startacus and congratulate her via TwitterMarion is now in the running for the Self Starter of the Year 2015 title and prizes - more details on this to be announced tomorrow!

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Published on: 1st June 2015

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