I’d be lying if I said 2015 was a year full of instant, big successes. It’s been full of many steps forward and many steps back. What I have done though, is start, build, and grow a business ready for what should be an amazing 2016.
I started the year as co-founder of Stride, a mobile app to help self-starters capture ideas on the move. Sadly, we weren’t able to take the business further post-graduation but I’ve learnt a huge amount about how to tackle the key challenges in setting up a business.
Since then, I’ve co-founded a travel start-up called BagSee (one for any 90’s kids out there). We provide pre-packed travel kits for any self-starter looking to go travelling and have already managed to partner with some brilliant companies along the way. 2015 has been a huge learning curve for me into the realities of setting up a business. More than ever, I understand the importance of being resourceful and to value any asset you have within your business. It was already very cool to be a Self Starter of the Week but the Self Starter of the Year award? BagSee That!
I’m Susi Wisniewski, CEO of TripLinks, the friendly meet-up app for business travel. Fed up of tables-for-one or supper in your hotel room? Would you rather see the sights of the city you're in? Meet a new person, share a moment. All through your phone with TripLinks.
TripLinks is strictly platonic, and with very limited profile information, it’s definitely not a dating tool; it’s not even about networking; it’s just a way to find someone to hang-out with for a couple of hours when you’re away from home.With TripLinks, you can meet up with someone to go for a meal; to play squash; you can even use it to find a buddy to travel across a new city. Any experience where you’d rather have some company…TripLinks is there to help!
I’ve developed the app with my co-founder husband Mark, into the mix throw a tiny baby, a three year old and consultancy work (which bankrolls the app): it’s been challenging! We released the app in public beta on iOS and Android in November 2015.
We’re now trying to gain traction whilst looking for equity investment to grow the TripLinks user-base on a rapid scale.
Kelly Gilmour Grassam Startacus featured some fantastic individuals and businesses in 2015. As a driven entrepreneur who chose to go it alone after university, I’ve found that with clear goals and a lot of motivation, you can achieve anything you set out to do. I believe it’s this attitude that makes self-starters stand out from the rest.
The past six months since being named Self-Starter of the Week have been incredible. In August, my business won recognition from Theo Paphitis in his weekly Small Business Sunday competition, and I was shortlisted for the Forward Ladies Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award soon after. However, the real highlight of 2015 was being crowned Britain’s Young Freelancer of the Year, at the IPSE Awards in November.
Whilst I feel humbled and lucky to receive such recognition, this success has been largely due to hard work, patience and untiring commitment to my clients. I love waking up in the morning with a new day ahead, and can’t wait to grow my business in 2016. It would be an honour to kickstart the year with this title.
Kieran Moore I think we should be the Self starter of the week as we have set ourselves up for a prosperous 2016 with less than £1000 starting capital, in the most economically deprived area in the UK. We have built great relationships and progressed so much over the course of one year. Our Socialhub service has helped thousands of locals and tourists in planning their stays in the city as well as generating large amounts of income for small to medium businesses.
I have built an amazing enthusiastic, young, talented team and inspired them to create high quality work that people talk about. We have met and worked with industry leaders, met and discussed our plans with the Minister and Deputy Minister of Northern Ireland, worked with schools to help nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs and we even got set up in a prestigious new office 80/81 Ebrington Square.
We have worked with companies to build stunning sites such as Irishdancingshop.com as well as launching The Pure Essential Guide toDerry book.
We've also created an App that is in testing and as an android app is now available from the play store.
Simon Pusey Leaving my job as a TV news reader I've spent much of the past year cycling around in the dead of night on an old Dutch bike, delivering food to people in East London for my Late Night Food Delivery startup -www.FeastHQ.com. Having approached the best 24 hour restaurants - often with persistence that bordered on harassment - I built a website, searched out the best packaging, marketed the service, and found enough student cyclists to scale the company.
Having secured seed funding, we now cover East and Central London, delivering from Balans, VQ, Polo Bar, Pixxa and Beigel Bake to name a few. And with a new website in place, and more restaurants set to start with us soon, we're looking to expand further into West and North London.
We'd love to have the chance to win this award and the amazing array of prizes. While we think our new website adds a huge amount to what we offer, we still need to make the user experience as simple and easy as possible, so Marketests bespoke research into the site would be hugely beneficial.
James Gordon 2015 was a fantastic year for The Chocolate Bear Kitchen. Our instagram account has grown to nearly 10,000 followers and we successfully launched our recipe website. We have been personally approached by one of the UK's largest festivals about featuring in 2016 and are working on a deal to provide specialist menu development with a nationwide hotel chain.
Our quest to build a brand with the hope of opening up an eatery in Bristol has begun. The support and contacts that have been generated has been outstanding. I believe that we are ready for a restaurant where dietary requirements don't hinder customer choice; at The Chocolate Bear Kitchen, whether vegan, gluten intolerant or dairy intolerant, there will be dishes for you.
2016 will be a crucial year: I will be leaving my full time job to return to professional kitchens and work full time on my business. Through projects with Food Culture TV and Weeble Films, we’ve the potential to become more recognisable and it would be ideal to take the next steps towards opening a restaurant in unison with these TV projects. The prizes on offer will enable me to synchronise such developments and help our business grow.
Good luck to the 6 finalist we look forward to watching the votes come! (CLICK ON THE IMAGE BELOW TO GET VOTING!)
Finding the right supplier for your business can seem daunting when those you are looking at are overseas. So here are some things to think about when starting a relationship with and working with an overseas supplier.
AIB Start-up Academy Summit returns to Belfast!
13th Jan 2017
Northern Ireland startups and entrepreneurs listen up! The AIB Start-up Academy Summit will be back in Belfast and we’ve all the important info you need to bag your free ticket to attend!
Newcastle Startup Week Set to Inspire
11th Jan 2017
Newcastle Startup Week - a new festival of entrepreneurship aims to inspire local people to start businesses and attract greater inward investment to the city and wider North East of England region.