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starting a business and the blueprint challenge

Ever really wanted to start a business but thought you couldn’t? That was me a year ago. Then my oldest friend, Douglas Brion, came to me with a proposition. Admittedly, to say I’ve started a business is a little bit of a falsehood. Douglas is a certified genius and over the past year he had developed what can only be described as revolutionary error-detection software for 3D printing; however, he required a co-founder. Thus, Douglas and faultfinder3D got stuck with me.

Douglas and I have been friends since we were knee high. With markedly different skill sets, we always knew that, given the right opportunity, we could complement each other perfectly. When Douglas told me that faultfinder3D was that opportunity, I did what I always have. I trusted him implicitly. After a great deal of thought, for all of about one minute, I put other job opportunities to one-side and jumped in with both feet. This has been the singular best decision of my entire life and I can say that, in many ways, 2019 has already eclipsed the years which came before. Never have I felt such a desire for personal success.

In pursuit of the development of our company, Douglas and I set about applying for the Blueprint Start-Up Challenge. Although not yet at the trading stage, we decided that our concept was good enough to warrant investment. With limited guidance, we developed a business plan and financial projections which gained us a place in the Blueprint final!

Whilst Douglas continued his studies at Imperial College London, this gave me the opportunity to develop my business skills. Blueprint run by the Careers and Enterprise Centre had an uncanny ability to rustle up exceptional master classes, providing advice on marketing, sales, and legal issues facing startups, to name just a few topics.

These classes provided skills which have proved invaluable in creating our startup. Whilst the development of technology is Douglas’ primary remit, I have taken on more of the business-related roles such as sales and marketing. Previous experience in management, retail, and customer services had allowed me to partially develop my relevant skills naturally; however, listening to a variety of experts has helped me to grow my personal knowledge on all things business.

Blueprint has provided an incubator-style launch pad for faultfinder3D. With low overheads and monetary investment being of limited use to our company, Douglas and I have entered the competition to gain a variety of insights into our industry, and a variety of propositions for our company.

We pitched for the final and enjoyed exceptional feedback. Going up against some really fantastic opposition, we can only go away and keep working as the judges deliberate. The next six weeks promise to feel long; however, we eagerly await the award ceremony so that we can thank everybody at Durham University who has enabled us to come so far. Regardless of the competition results, we are most excited to continue our pursuit, taking the valuable skills and insights developed through the Blueprint program to hopefully achieve great success in the future.

Faultfinder is due to launch in July and we are counting down to this date but you can take a look at what we will offer on our website  

Lewis O'Shea

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