2015 was a great year for Startup Direct funded Start-ups with over 500 businesses funded and supported including Incredibly, Medical Tracker, Baby Sensory, The London Printers, Horsebox Coffee, Nuriss, Le Salon App, Red Tree Study to name but a few. We have been very impressed by the quality and tenacity of the entrepreneurs we have worked with and feel very privileged to help these businesses on their startup journey.
The ongoing support from our pool of over 300 mentors was outstanding in 2015. We are extremely grateful to our mentors for giving up their time to help support and guide these early stage businesses. This is a hugely important element of our offering as we are now being seen as an authority on mentoring amongst our competitors and in the start-up world. One of our mentors Ted Rowlands has experienced some great success this year having mentored 5 different businesses. He was heavily involved in our support of GEW and you can see him in action below.
2015 saw the birth and development of Startup Direct’s crowdfunding services which has so far been very successful and helped our loan recipients with further funding. Graeme Risby and Rob Larmour of HiyaCar successfully over raised £300,940, whilst Toby Vacher of Taste Cocktails raised £90,000 for his cocktail business. These two businesses show the huge potential benefits of crowdfunding for our startups and it is something we intend to grow in 2016.
Global Entrepreneurship Week was a great event in November 2015, with Startup Direct as a major UK partner. The launch event in Manchester featured Piers Linney, CEO and former Dragon and a wide array of other high profile entrepreneurs and mentors. The week featured a number of high impact events all buzzing with entrepreneurs, investors, mentors and partners sharing knowledge, building connections and doing business to help inspire those entrepreneurs in attendance. It was a huge success, mainly due to the hard work of our GEW team including: mentors Ted, Pina, and Anis led by the dedicated Anna Elyasova, SUD’s Birmingham manager. We thank all who were involved in this excellent event.
In 2015 Startup Direct became a fully accredited member of Youth Business International (YBI), the global organisation which supports entrepreneurs all over the world. We also thank YBI (for their support) along with mentors Pina and Gregor and partnerships mentor manager Lorraine for the fantastic Mentoring Toolkit we produced to celebrate GEW. These handbooks and videos gives entrepreneurs guidance on how to navigate the start-up world and equally important to find the support they need to succeed. They can be viewed via our social media, website and YouTube channel. Or just email us for a copy of the handbooks.
2015 saw the growth of the partnership between Startup Direct and Barclays bank. With the continuation of the Brain Trust event where selected Startup Direct entrepreneurs meet with a team of Barclays senior professionals giving our entrepreneurs an opportunity to get confidential, impartial advice from top businessmen and women. Star51, who attended the event in early 2015, now supply major chains such as House of Fraser, as a result of attending the session. Braintrust events receive excellent feedback from all who attend and we thank Barclays for their continued fantastic support with this event.
In 2015 we were delighted to reach a major milestone on our journey of funding and supporting start up businesses. In September we managed to fund our 1000th business and thought if ever we needed an excuse to throw a party, this would be a good one. We reached out to our community and invited partners, loan recipients and mentors to get together over a well earned drink and see some of our funded business on show.
The team at Startup Direct wish you a very happy 2016!