Dundee University law student and former footballer Zane Powell set up UniJob with his friend Lewis Pour, an advanced internetwork engineering student at Glasgow Caledonian University last year. Zane tells The Courier about their business journey.
Q Why did you start in business?
A As students we became increasingly frustrated at conventional job websites and felt the process was outdated. We came to the conclusion Scotland needed a new way to link students with SMEs. After a lot of research we came up with an app that would make the process easier for both students and companies.
Q How did you get here?
A I was a professional footballer and when that came to an end I went back to college to get my Highers before starting university.Throughout college I watched Dragon’s Den and The Apprentice and I loved the idea of building something from scratch and growing it into a successful company. Since setting up Unijob persistence has helped us. We had an idea, stuck to it and contacted people we felt could help.
Q Who has helped you?
A We have built a strong support network which includes Business Gateway and Entrepreneurial Spark. Our Business Gateway adviser has spent a lot of time helping perfect our business plan, strategy and advising us on our investment deal. As it’s our first foray into business we lacked experience in many areas so it’s vital to have support.
Q Your biggest mistake?
A Underestimating how much work building a business takes. I suppose because we have never done anything like this before each day was a learning curve.
Q Your greatest achievement?
A Securing the £125,000 investment to develop our app and website and get us ready for market was huge for us. Also within three weeks of our website going live we signed up more than 1,050 students, 25 businesses and we have the support of universities including Dundee and Abertay and colleges including Fife, Dundee and Aberdeen.
Q Hopes for the future?
A We aim to give students at Scottish universities and colleges something quick, easy and engaging that will make the job search process easier than it is. We also want to give SMEs easy access to the sea of talent in this country, all through innovative tech. Our long-term plan is to replicate this model throughout the UK and the rest of the world.
Q Do you want to recruit?
A Yes, we aim to recruit in our second year.
Q What is the hardest thing about running a business?
A Time. Studying and launching a business is hard but it can be done.
Q Any advice to other wannabe entrepreneurs?
A If you have an idea do some research first. Speak to people, do a little a survey or check out existing data. Then if you still have that nagging feeling in your head go for it. Also get yourself a mentor and access the support available from Business Gateway, because there will be lots of things that you need advice on.