As they finally settle in to their new surroundings, we find out what our Catalyst Centre winners are up to, and how they are finding the experience.

Joe Price is the owner of SLR Lens, a photography website that gives enthusiasts a platform to sift through great industry information before buying their camera or lens, all in one place! It’s not just a place to buy cameras; it also adds a social aspect, with access to a regularly updated blog and youtube channels where Joe reviews the latest photography equipment and gives great tips and advice on buying the right camera for you. Joe has recently re-launched his website with a new domain name, www.SLR-joe.com.  He feels that bringing an identity and a level of personalisation to the website will set it apart from other brands. This, coupled with his bespoke advertising software, made this business one the judges were really excited about. We asked Joe a few questions about his first few weeks in the Catalyst Centre.

How have you found your first few weeks in the Catalyst Centre?

I have really enjoyed it, especially meeting the other businesses that are part of the Catalyst Centre. It’s been a surprisingly smooth process, the induction day gave me a lot of great information that has aided the transition, and the IT which is essential to my business, was really easy to set up. I just plugged in and off I went!

How have you found the first two seminars?

I’ve found them really useful to gain an insight into how to better promote my business. Until now, it hasn’t really been something I have thought of, but the last two seminars have shown me how important this part of business is. They gave me some great advice, and explained not only why I should be doing this, but how!

How has having a business coach helped you?

Phil Sharpe from Haydock Associates has been absolutely brilliant. Personally I find it really beneficial to use him as a sounding board, any ideas I have, I know I can discuss them with him. It’s a great way to get things straight in my head.

Have you found it different working in an office environment after working from home?

I find that it really helps me to focus. I mean, it’s great working from home as your commute is non-existent, but actually coming into dedicated office space has helped me focus and given me a routine.

And finally, where do you see yourself at the end of the 6 months?

I have clear goals in terms of where I want to take the website in 6 months, and I think being part of this initiative will help me to achieve these. I want my website to expand into more countries, not just the UK and America where it is widely used at the moment. I am currently working on getting it translated into German, and by the end of my 6 months in the Catalyst Centre, I want to expand into more European countries.

Our second interview is with Pete Stubbings, owner of JabbaLab, a modular online language course system.

 

Pete, what makes JabbaLab different from other language learning websites?

Our online system will be based firmly in modern language, as opposed to text book language. Rather than learning a set syllabus or script, you will learn all the stuff that is actually used in conversation today. For example, you may go over to Germany and use “Auf wiedersehen”, a word many people learn as “goodbye”, even though that is rarely used nowadays. JabbaLab will also be more cost-effective as it is modular. Each module would cost say £5.99 to purchase, and students can spread the cost as they learn, rather than paying three to four hundred pounds in one go. The modules will be set out in a natural progression; however people will be able to choose which module to buy, and when they want to buy it.

Why did you decide to apply to the Catalyst Centre?

Up until now JabbaLab has just been a part time business venture by my wife Nicola and me. However, we got to a point where either we had to do something major with the business, or it was going to become a time drain. It was always planned that we would turn it into a “real” business that will make money, as up until now, everything we have done has been free. Nicola is now working full time and rather than her working in an isolated environment at home, she is now in an office environment, with superb business support and access to the resources and networking on the Park. We have a few challenges in the lead up to product launch, and we hope that by talking to Phil Sharpe from Haydock Associates, we can overcome these.

If you want to be where our winners are next year, make sure you apply for the next round of applications at www.usspcatalystcentre.org.uk