There goes the first third of the year! January, February, March and April flew past and I find myself writing this at the beginning of May…
2011 began with the Future Health Mission from 8th-14th January, taking a group of health-related companies to San Francisco, to pitch to VCs, meet partners and explore opportunities.
By February, we were preparing for the newly named Tenner Tycoon (formerly Make Your Mark with a Tenner) to launch, this year with 28,000 young people taking part. I can’t wait for the awards over the summer where we will discover what the partipants did to turn their ten pounds into something, in just one month.
At the end of February I, and a group of colleagues, had a meeting which would lead, less than one month later, to the launch of StartUp Britain. It gave me the chance to work with an amazing array of people, from Number 10 through to small business owners I had long admired and large companies I had always wanted to work with.
During the run-up to launching StartUp Britain, I hopped on a plane for my fifth mission, the third WebMission, to San Francisco. A blend of great companies, interesting visits and phenomenal support from sponsors made this one of my favourite trips to the US so far and has inspired me and the team at Polecat to do much more with the 90+ companies we have travelled with on previous missions.
Meanwhile, back in the UK, I have been working for the past seven months on a new venture, with two fantastic new business partners (Tim Reading and Ed Sellwood). We’re almost ready to unveil our progress, and are really looking forward to getting feedback on the projects we have been developing. Essentially, we are bringing together companies, causes and others to come up with new social action projects. Where an ad agency creates ads, we create and deliver new projects, on the ground. To give you a sneak preview of our work, VIY (Volunteer It Yourself) is a scheme which helps young people to fix their own youth clubs. We have weaved together Wickes (the national DIY chain), Pimlico Plumbers (donating their time and expertise), A4e (getting people into employment), vinspired (the foundation supporting youth volunteering) and London Youth (the network of youth clubs). We have piloted the concept in two locations and are planning its London and national roll-out. The name of our new business is the Co-Sponsorship Agency (CoSpA for short!) and I look forward to sharing more about our work very soon!
For loads of reasons, the Co-Sponsorship Agency represents everything I love about business. Bringing together people who might not otherwise have met, let alone have worked together. Helping to come up with fresh new ideas which capture people’s imagination, making them want to get involved. Trying to solve problems worth solving in interesting ways. Finally, working with a great team to deliver projects on the ground.
I look forward to sharing news about all of the work I’ve been involved with this year, including Missions, Tenner Tycoon, StartUp Britain and of course CoSpA. They have allowed me to meet some fantastic people. If you think we should be talking, please do get in touch. I’d love to hear from you!