Enterprise Nation StartUp 2016
By James GundryJan 20164 min read
We had the privilege of being a part of Enterprise Nation StartUp 2016 in London on Saturday 9th January... and it was an absolute blast!
The doors opened at 9am, and it took very little time for the rooms and corridors of the Canary Wharf venue to fill up with ticket holders. More than 3,000 entrepreneurs attended the show, each looking to learn as much as they can in the pursuit of getting their startup businesses off the ground.
Set across multiple floors, the event offered a wide variety of talks, panel discussions, workshops, and more. The aim was ensuring that the budding entrepreneurs attending the show would receive a plethora of advice to help them succeed in their journeys.
Our own hub of activity was positioned nicely amongst the other sponsors of the event. Our stand, which was run by a number of volunteers from across the GoCardless team, was glittered with limited edition GoCardless merchandise that would become increasingly famous as the day wore on.
Inspiring keynotes from the main stage
The day kicked off with a warm introduction from Enterprise Nation’s very own Emma Jones. Shortly after, Oliver Sewell took centre stage to begin the day’s masterclasses with an insightful talk on boosting your business through Facebook.
This led onto one of our highlights of the day, “Make or break: How I’ve built my start-up”. This was chaired by Gary Turner from Xero, one of our accounting software partners. The consensus amongst the three panelists was that managing your company finances digitally is key for keeping on top of your business as it grows. Cloud-based accountancy platforms will become vital as your company grows and their key advice in this regard was to start using one from day one. Not only will all your financial records be in one place (making it far easier when the taxman comes knocking), you’ll also be in a good position to scale to the next level.
By noon time, the event was in full swing and each and every floor was buzzing with activity. A large crowd had gathered in preparation for Nicola, our VP of Marketing, and her panel discussion with Andy Stephenson and Oliver Bridge, the founders of Weekend Box Club and Cornerstone. Their panel discussion was on “how to build a subscription business” with both entrepreneurs sharing their advice on launching and growing a subscription business on a small budget. They also discussed some of their key challenges along the way.
This discussion paved the way for our highlight of the day, where our founder Hiroki Takeuchi took to the main stage alongside Mark Preason, founder of MyVoucherCodes and Amber Atherton, founder of My Flash Trash. The three of them had an open discussion on what they had learnt building a million dollar startup.
Speaking to entrepreneurs at the GoCardless stand
Spending a day speaking to entrepreneurs and business owners at the GoCardless stand was an absolute joy. At StartUp 2016, we were demoing the new GoCardless dashboard and showing visitors how they could transform the normally painstaking task of collecting payments into a simple, automated process. After answering all the questions fired at us like there was no tomorrow, I could have sworn we transformed into Jedis... well, Direct Debit Jedis anyway.
Not wanting to miss any opportunities, we made the most of the brief periods we were free by convincing the other sponsors across the floor to model our merchandise for a quick photo (a few of which may have been casually leaked to Twitter). ¯\(ツ)/¯
The occasional [read frequent] fluttering of eyelids in the direction of the Direct Line stand opposite may have also occurred – we couldn’t resist… they had a popcorn machine!
Keeping an eye on your finances
As the day drew to a close, some of us made our way back down to the ground floor for the final keynote panel discussion of the day – “How to keep financially fit and protected throughout the year”.
What shone through in this final discussion is that staying on top of your finances from the start is absolutely crucial if you want to see your startup to reach long-term success. Too many startups founded only on great ideas have fallen by the wayside as a result of poor finances or not keeping an eye on their cash flow.
Turning great ideas into successful long-term businesses
One of the goals of Enterprise Nation and StartUp 2016 is making sure budding entrepreneurs have the knowledge and tools they require to ensure a great idea comes to fruition in the market.
GoCardless has always been proud to support start-up businesses and we can all agree unequivocally that we felt proud to support StartUp 2016 (it definitely more than made up for the 7am alarm on Saturday morning). We finished the day feeling incredibly inspired by the people we met, the talks we attended and the general spirit of innovation and creativity.
Thank you to everyone who attended and best of luck to each and every one of you taking the plunge into startup life in 2016. From the whole team at GoCardless, we wish you every success in your new venture!