“Leave your ego at the door” says Guy Armitage, founder of Zealous
We caught up with Guy Armitage, founder of Zealous, partner of the We in Social Tech Programme, to find out a little more about the company who built the platform which simplifies our application process.
Q: Tell Us A Bit About Your Business And Your Purpose
GA: Zealous helps organisations simplify calls to submissions for awards, competitions, exhibitions, residencies and more. This includes automating emails, managing judges, making your final selection and more.
We founded Zealous in the knowledge that by helping organisations save time on organising opportunities within the creative sector, they would in turn be able to create more opportunities and support the eco-system better. Ultimately, we want talent in the sector to thrive.
Q: Why Are You Supporting The We In Social Tech Programme?
GA: Supporting the “We” (Women Entrepreneurs)
GA: Technology has the power to change the world. Yet those wielding that power (founders and funders) are too often cut from the same cloth. The truth is, we lack diversity in our sector. Women, amongst others, are vastly underrepresented. For our society to be served equally, the make-up of our founders needs the be representative of it.
Broadening the horizons of our ecosystem allow us to build empathy into our services and helps solve problems overseen by those who do not experience them first-hand. Any initiative which seeks to support them is a step in the right direction.
On supporting “Social Tech”:
GA: Too often services are created solely to make money. The marketing department then applies a thin veneer of “social responsibility” to make them palatable to an increasingly sensitive generation. Supporting social tech allows for founders to build responsibility into the core of their offering. Starting from the premise of being socially responsible and building a working business model around that allows for longer, deeper impact.
Q: What Support Are You Providing To The Female Founders In The Programme?
GA: We are streamlining their process of submitting to the programme; and should they wish it, keep them updated with other initiatives which could support their journey.
Q: What General Advice Would You Provide Our Female Founders To Help Improve Their Chances Of Gaining Investment?
GA: It’s still about the money; build a solid business model and try to get as far as you can before seeking investment. If you have a working prototype, a community and some revenue you’ll leave less to the imagination allowing you to negotiate for better terms.
Also, don’t pitch blindly, pick individuals who have experience in your market, and have backed similar projects. Finally, build relationships with them before making the ask. If they see you come back to them often with growth, they will more open to invest in you.
Q: What General Advice Would You Provide Our Female Founders Applying To The Accelerator?
GA: Leave your ego at the door. Be open, be curious, don’t be afraid to be challenged and learn as much as you can.
Q: What Potential Is There For Social Tech Businesses In Today’s Market And How Is This Important, In Comparison To Traditional Businesses?
GA: Customers are becoming increasingly sensitive to the ethics of businesses and the provenance of their products and services. If you can give them a good service with a heart, they will pick you over others.
Q: Do You Have Any Other Comments Or Thoughts That Could Be Of Interest To Out Participants?
GA: Surround yourself with those who believe in your vision and keep at it. Your journey isn’t going to be easy; but it is going to be worth it.
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Guy Armitage is the founder of Zealous, an online network created to simplify access to talent and opportunities within the creative sector. Previously, Guy founded IT contracting firm Bright Creations in Egypt, and worked at the London Stock Exchange where he headed the FTSE quarterly changes. Guy has discussed the world-changing potential of creativity at TEDx and in the media (Forbes, Metro…) and was Guardian’s Creative Entrepreneur of the Year in 2013. He is a proud trustee of the Firstsite in Colchester, and Arebyte in London.
Applications to the third cohort of We in Social Tech are open now until 17 November 2019.