Case Study – Pixie Me
Greg Barden, 32, of Poole, has set up Pixie Me, a new business idea which consists of an online platform for businesses to network and interact with each other, their customers and communities, and an independent payment platform to help keep money within the local economy. He moved into the incubation unit at the Centre for Entrepreneurship eight months ago, and is now relocating to offices in Poole after expanding his workforce.
I met Dean Patton [Professor of Entrepreneurship at Bournemouth University] at a networking event and he explained what he was doing here and invited me along. At that time, I was a bit of a one-man band, working from home and not really getting any knowledge or expertise from anyone else.
It has given me the platform, through Dean’s knowledge and experience, to tweak the business plan and go after the financing that I needed. Securing that has allowed me to bring in a few more guys and to expand, which is why it feels like the right time to move on. His door is always open and he’s happy to share his experience and knowledge – he will make you think about things from a different perspective and you can then go away and work on it. It’s a really important aspect of being here.
There have also been some great networking opportunities that have come through the Centre – it’s opened a lot of doors. The primary thing that I’ll take away will definitely be the friendships that I’ve created. There’s a lot of cross-over between the businesses here, and that is what is so good about the incubation unit – we are all like-minded businesses, starting out in the same position and everybody helps each other. For example, Blue Thirst, who are also based here, are SEO experts so they have been helping me with that, and Black Swan Media have been helping out with creating videos.
It also helps to give you a different perspective on things – we have had many a debate on the floor, and that’s really interesting as well. It definitely has an effect on your business and the way you think and you wouldn’t get that as a start-up if you were sitting at home by yourself.
My advice to anybody thinking about setting up here is without a doubt, apply and do it. There are a lot of barriers and unknowns for individuals and businesses who are starting out, so you need to open yourself up to what’s out there and available to you. You get to give as much knowledge as you take just by being here and it’s about getting out of your comfort zone and into an environment where you can push yourself and others push you as well.
It’s a great stepping stone.
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