In Pioneering People, Morven McIntyre talks to some of the most innovative entrepreneurs around. Creative thinkers who have paved their own way and become pioneers in their field. We’ll hear their stories from early life, what shaped their ambitions and how they managed to carve out their own path to success.
Sophie Amono is quite the entrepreneur being founder of ethical skincare social enterprise PERF and social media agency, Stuffs. Whilst volunteering in a homeless shelter, Sophie saw the value in bringing skincare products to homeless people. With encouragement and support from the charity Streetwork - Sophie setup vegan and cruelty free beauty brand, PERF in October of 2018. A name inspired by Australian comedian, Chris Lilley’s TV character, Ja’mie with the deeper messages of inclusivity and self acceptance. All products are handmade in Scotland using organic plant based ingredients and with each product sold a proportion of profits goes back to charities that help to support homelessness. She is also an equality campaigner being an inclusion and diversity council member at the British interactive media association. Sophie talks about how her community values translate into her business model and why she wants to inspire the next generation of black women.
Daryll Morrow is a Scottish entrepreneur and the co-founder of Udrafter, a micro internship platform. Once graduating from university, Daryll struggled to find a job which led him to set up Udrafter - an online platform that allows students to complete paid internships that compliment their degree choice. It aims to make work experience more accessible and an all round more efficient process through the use of technology. Businesses can access a pool of talent from Udrafter to select a candidate to complete paid work placements from anything between 2 and 50 hours. Candidates will be given points based on their work alongside comments and this will then be validated on their online portal. Businesses benefit from a cheaper way of sourcing work and students benefit from having more skills and experience. The platform also has a section where students can up skill and have their skills validated by mentors on the platform. The company also organised a 3 day event called the Digital Draft in response to businesses freezing recruitment during the pandemic where students competed to help businesses solve problems. Daryll shares he thinks the pandemic has shown that working remotely is the way forward and why he hopes that Udrafter will go full circle in terms of employment.
Georgia Stewart is a Scottish entrepreneur and the co-founder and CEO of financial tech company, Tumelo. Georgia's interest in ethical finance began early, whilst studying at Cambridge university she joined a campaign called Positive investment Cambridge which aimed to secure a more transparent approach to the university portfolio. Tumelo’s aim is to help individuals, people who have money invested in a pension or money invested in the stock market, understand where their money is going when they are making an investment. Tumelo partners with investment platforms and pension providers to engage investors by giving them a more transparent view of the companies they own and a shareholder voice on issues they care about. Indirect investors can vote on shareholder proposals and have a say in the wider stock market. Shareholder proposals include topics from gender equality to animal welfare. Tumelo aim to encourage responsible investment and to involve the wider public. Georgia talks about she thinks having a voice in the stock market is the best way to promote positive social change and why she thinks being ethical and making a profit can go hand in hand.
Nick Cousins is a Scottish entrepreneur and the founder of Exizent. After 20 years of working across the financial and service sector. In 2018, Nick founded Exizent- a business to business financial tech startup that aims to be the UK’s first bereavement platform. Exizent aims to connect executors, legal services and the institutions such as banks and insurance firms. The ethos of the business is to make administering an estate easier for an executor by making it more cost effective and a quicker process. The aim of the platform is running non value added tasks at scale to bring down the cost and make it more efficient. This will be done through open access to data, reducing the time it takes to discover and validate information and to improve the overall process. Nick shares why he thinks it's timely to add technology to the bereavement sector and why a service design approach is the best way forward.
Brie Read is an entrepreneur and the founder of Snag Tights - a size inclusive tights brand. Snag was founded in 2018 after an embarrassing experience left her throwing away her tights on George Street in Edinburgh. Brie began talking to her friends about it and found that they shared similar bad experiences. She then conducted a demographically representative survey which found that 90% of women were unhappy with their tights. This gap in the market led Brie to set up Snag tights, an all-female founded and female led company. They are the first tights designed to fit people by their size, height and body shape. With a background in marketing for high growth companies, she set up her website with the viewpoint that nothing would be on the website unless the customer asks for it. It’s this simple business ethos ‘of tights that fit’ that she credits to her success. In 2019, Brie was awarded start-up Entrepreneur of The Year at the Barclays Entrepreneur Awards and is active in her wider charity work with the LGBTQ+ community. Brie talks about why she thinks tights play a part in our self acceptance journey and why she takes an unconventional approach to business.
Christian Arno is a Scottish entrepreneur who is the co-founder and CEO of Pawprint: The Eco Movement and Founder and President of Lingo24, the translation company. Pawprint was co-founded by Christian in the summer of 2019. It is an app which acts as an eco companion that allows individuals and companies to calculate, understand and reduce their annual carbon footprint- or as Christian would call it their ‘paw print’. The idea came to Christian after he thought applying numbers to individual choices would help people quantify the relative importance of climate change. The app offers a personalised tracking and tips service for users with an ambitious goal of supporting a million people taking one tonne of CO2 emissions off their annual pawprint. Other features include helping users with lifestyle goals such as saving money, eating better and being more active. The app also has a rewards based feature whereby users can complete challenges and receive tokens known as ‘paw points.’ Paw points allow users to vote on different climate change causes, and those with the most votes will receive a donation from PawPrint. Christian shares why he thinks individuals coming together have the power to tackle the climate crisis and why the key is setting the right tone and providing digestible information.