From BIKE Park to Online Marketing

A welcome to the wonderful and entrepreneurial world of Chimpsta!

To kick off our Entrepreneurial guest lecture series this February (as part of the BETA Enterprise programme) around two hundred students joined us to hear from alumnus and Chimpsta founder Jon Catney. In this entrepreneurial guest lecture we learn about how and why Chimpsta was started and what advice Managing Director Jon Catney has for enterprising students.

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BETA Enterprise guest lecture by Jon Catney of Instachimp

Jon Catney graduated from Plymouth University in 2012 after studying Marine Sports Science. He was also short-listed for the Young Business Person of the Year award in 2012.

Jon started and developed Fortitude Bike Park from 2011 to 2013. During that time he took out a loan to expand the bike park and got into trouble when not enough people were willing to pay to use it on a year-round basis.  Jon also talked about difficulties with business partners during those early years. Jon learnt a lot from starting, running and closing Fortitude bike park and he emphasised that students should not be afraid to fail.

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With Chimpsta, Jon said it was very much a case of having the right idea at the right time and right place. His part-time jobs of pizza delivery and bouncy castle delivery also provided him with useful contacts. Starting Chimpsta was not easy though, Jon said he needed a lot of motivation to do it and continue despite some people he knew not supporting the idea. In his words “you’ve got to get over it and trust your own gut”.

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Instachimp have adopted a  Capuchan monkey named Kodak, at the Monkey Sanctuary in Looe.

Chimpsta is a worldwide marketing tool, ready to be used to promote events, businesses and brands in almost any geographical location. Instachimp provides a fun and engaging way of interacting with event attendees as well as building your brand. Their social media driven print systems enable the printing of your guest’s favourite photos immediately at the event.

“After the short period we have been trading we have twelve clients, only two of which have an annual turnover of less than £5 million. Combined, our clients are worth in excess of £1 billion. We always get results.”

Chimpsta plans for the future are to; build the brand and build the team. Yes, they are hiring again this year!

Jon will also be expanding Chimpsta’s turn-over and client base. There are many exciting marketing activities in the pipeline for this year and it is the Chinese Year of the Monkey so Jon sees this as a good sign and aims to make the most of that. Chimpsta have already adopted a Capuchan monkey named Kodak, at the Monkey Sanctuary in Looe.

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Jon’s advice for students and budding young entrepreneurs include:

  • Don’t focus on paperwork too much (paperwork is important, but so is getting out and doing it!)
  • Find a niche
  • Establish a decent client base
  • Be wary of partners/early investors
  • Make mistakes and learn from them!
  • Make sure to network as much a possible
  • Always have an exit strategy

 

It was great to hear from Jon and be inspired by what can be achieved even before someone finishes University. Students even got free Redbull at the talk from one of Instachimp’s sponsors.

If you would like to know more about the entrepreneurial guest lectures we run as part of the BETA Enterprise Programme, please contact me at amber.strong@plymouth.ac.uk

PBS Staff Photo Shoot for web pagesAmber Strong
Amber Strong -Network Advisor in Entrepreneurship
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