In our line of work we get to meet hundreds of amazing entrepreneurs each year who each have a great story to tell about how and why they decided to start their own business.
Our Newcastle Startup Week festival has been created to help raise the profile and shine a light on the North East business community and the key players within it which is why we have over 50 speakers across 5 days between 15th-19th May 2017 (see our full ‘Schedule’ at http://newcastlestartupweek.com/schedule/).
In addition to speaking, some of these have agreed to be ‘Newcastle Startup Week Ambassadors‘ – proactively helping to spread the word about our event both online and offline, and inspiring other people to come along to learn more about what it takes to start and grow their own business.
We’re delighted to announce that Ami Davies, Founder & MD of the My Little Explorer child safety app and tracking device, is our first Newcastle Startup Week Ambassador…
1. Hi Ami, can you please give a brief summary of who you are and what you do?
I am the Founder and Managing Director of Brand Ami, and creator of My Little Explorer, a new child safety product for kids aged 1-5yrs old. It’s wearable tech that links to a smartphone app and alerts parents when their child wanders away. This fills a gap in the market as parents don’t want to track their young children but in our research, 90% told us they had become separated from them, leading to a traumatic experience for both the parent and the child. Personality wise I am tenacious, resilient and driven but try to not take life too seriously all the time. I love pitching and being an entrepreneur – there’s nothing quite like it!
2. How many people are in your business? Is it just you or do you have business partners / employees?
There are now officially four shareholders. The two founders actively work in the business but everything else is currently outsourced. We are supported externally by a team of quite frankly brilliant people including Armstrong Accountants, Lisa Lockey of Illuminate Management Solutions and Infinite Design. We have an office at Gateshead International Business Centre, who are also hugely supportive.
3. How did you get started? What was the inspiration or motivation for doing it?
I started with an idea that was borne from temporarily losing my daughter in Primark one day. Initially I researched technologies on the internet. From there I developed a questionnaire and spent 3 months visiting toddler groups until I had 100 completed questionnaires. From this I created a business case and went to a local business fair where I was told “We can’t help you unless you have business plan!” Unfortunately I was miles away from being able to write one. I asked around friends and found out a friend of friend was an investor. It took another 6 months of research and initial design ideation to secure a second round of investment to develop the product and the rest is history.
4. What are you working on right now? What’s next for your business?
Having secured a third round of investment we are currently getting ready to launch My Little Explorer locally in April and across the UK in the summer of 2017.
5. What are you most looking forward to about Newcastle Startup Week?
Apart from being a speaker on Day 1 (aka ‘Inspiration Day’), I’m really looking forward to just being part of the whole event, giving something back and inspiring others. Being a startup is a challenging journey and helping others to realise their dreams and fulfil their potential is so rewarding. Personally I am really excited to hear Zoe Farrington of Real Rider speak on Day 1 too. She’s a big inspiration to me and has made a great success of herself and her business. The film screening of ‘Joy’ at The Tyneside Cinema later that evening will also be amazing! Her story brings me to tears as its so akin to my journey.
6. What advice would you give to someone starting out in business / following in your footsteps?
Find someone who has done it before that is willing to spare you some time and support you. You have to network and use the expertise of local startup support services as much as possible which is why events like Newcastle Startup Week are so valuable as it brings everyone together in once place over a short period of time.
Want to hear Ami speak or meet her in person?
Get your ticket for our 5 day (+ night) Newcastle Startup Week festival in May by clicking on the link below: