Most of us are reaching the end of our working year in the run-up to Christmas. With the economy finally on the rise, 2014 has been an exciting and productive year for entrepreneurs and start-ups. As we’re looking forward to an even brighter 2015, we asked four of our entrepreneurial SMFs what’s on their Christmas business wish list. Here they share their Christmas wishes, which range from financial investment for faster growth to a 3D chocolate printer!
James Harding, Co-Founder of Natural Juice Company
Specialising in dairy and gluten-free juices the Natural Juicing Company was recently launched by James Harding and his wife Gemma, and they are looking for venture capital financing, and marketing and communications experts to help them speed up growth and development in their new business. The company launched in November this year and is already causing a stir, having been invited to supply the juices for a leading UK premiere in 2015.
James said, “Like any start-up, we need help, particularly in the areas of marketing and business development. We have two Christmas wishes – the first is to find a communications expert who believes in our vision and is able to provide some advice pro bono to help us build brand awareness, secure trials and endorsements from health professionals and celebrities, and give us tips on getting into the media.
“Our second Christmas wish is to find a mentor/non-executive director who can provide ongoing marketing advice and introduce us to people who can help grow the business. We’re feeling optimistic as we set out on a round of meetings with venture capitalists over the next couple of weeks with a view to raising funds in early 2015.”
As we’ve discussed in the blog Raising money for your business venture, venture capital is often hard to acquire as you must demonstrate a high potential for growth. However, once secured, it is perhaps one of the best forms of start-up funding. Recruiting the sort of marketing and communications expertise Natural Juicing Company is looking for is equally challenging, but we are confident that we can connect them with Fellows within the SMF network who can give them advice and support.
Likewise, there are many non-executive directors who mentor new enterprises and by researching the processes NEDs go through as portfolio entrepreneurs, James and Gemma can gain the knowledge to find the right mentor. Either way, they have made an important first step in identifying what they need to do to make their wishes come true. Do get in touch with us if you think you can help James and Gemma.
Mark Spence, CEO of Rheolab
Entrepreneur Mark Spence is the CEO of Rheolab, a world class business that sells polymers as cosmetic ingredients. Mark’s business is a great model of a dynamic, transnational company, and his wish highlights the challenge of finding the right people to expand the business across different national markets.
Mark explained, “We have 13 employees split between Chicago and Leeds. The US is the largest market and within the US the North East is the largest region. We have tried for several years to get penetration in this market using distributors, but our results have been mixed. English people go down well in sales roles when visiting large US cosmetic companies. As a Christmas present for Rheolab, I would like to recruit a smart outgoing UK chemistry or chemical engineering graduate who has the confidence and resilience to succeed for us in the North Eastern US market.”
If you’re a talented engineer with the skills Mark is seeking, don’t hesitate to contact us – you could be that illusive person who can help Rheolab penetrate the highly competitive US market by bringing uniquely British business and sales sensibilities to the table.
Serge Taborin, CEO at Q App
Serge Taborin awarded Best Mobile Payment Service trophy by Mobile Entertainment Magazine
Q App is a leading mobile ordering platform that enables users to browse the menu and select and pay for their order at participating venues – all from their smartphone. It also allows users to specify their collection time-slot, making it ideal for takeaway outlets, coffee shops, and theatre intervals. It is therefore revolutionising the hospitality sector by removing one of the biggest end-user pain points in the industry; queuing.
The company is now entering its next stage of development, which involves expanding the number of high quality venues using the app whilst simultaneously driving up the number of end-users. Serge Taborin’s wish is to secure the necessary venture capital funding to take the business to the next level.
Serge said, “It’s been a very exciting year, winning new contracts with big brands including the Royal Albert Hall, Southbank Centre and Premier League grounds, as well as theatres, bars, pubs, coffee shops and fast food outlets. Now we need to raise our next wave of funding which will allow us to make a step change in the number of venues using Q App, taking it into the high hundreds over the next 18 months. We will be able to expand our team to support the increasing number of venues coming on board, boost marketing to ensure more people are aware of the service and invest in development so that the product continues to evolve.”
Nimesh Thakrar, Founder of Banneya.com
Banneya.com offers CAD-proficient jewellery designers access to the latest additive manufacture technology to create their designs in precious metals. This is in line with brand new technological developments in 3D printed metal. Each piece of precious jewellery is hand-finished to the highest standard, and Banneya offers a curated marketplace on which to trade. Banneya also offers a forum for building mutually beneficial business partnerships with all parties benefiting from the income collectively generated by the platform. Nimesh Thakrar, hopes to see new developments in 3D printing technology to bring new and exciting products to this blossoming market.
Asked for his Christmas wish he jokingly said, “We’re creating some stunning 3d printed gold jewellery – that doesn’t exactly help with treats in the office, so how fitting would it be to be gifted a chocolate 3D printer this Christmas? Yes, they do exist now!”
The business ‘birth rate’ has reached a 10-year high, with the number of new firms up by 28.5% last year. More than ever, new businesses are looking for ways to get a foothold in their respective markets. By setting your wishes (aka goals) and timeframes, entrepreneurs, like our SMFs are well on their way to success. We hope all their wishes come true and that they have some real down time at Christmas in readiness for a sparkling start to the New Year.