Entrepreneurship and Small Business

Start-up, Growth and Maturity

by Paul Burns New Venture Creation Corporate Entrepreneurship

Meet the Entrepreneur videos

These video case studies feature successful entrepreneurs, covering a range of businesses and geographical locations. The videos interrogate the entrepreneurs on the experiences and challenges they have faced starting and managing their own businesses, and offer an invaluable insight into life as an entrepreneur.

The videos below are the full interviews of each entrepreneur, for reference, in case you'd like to hear their story from start to finish. Click the link below each video if you would like to view the individual parts of the interview.

AJ Asver, co-founder, Scoopler/JustSpotted, USA

AJ is co-founder of the real-time search engine Scoopler and the celebrityspotting website JustSpotted. Having grown up in the UK, AJ Asver travelled to San Francisco in 2008 to turn his business dreams into reality. Spotting a clear business opportunity, AJ’s original business idea shifted and so Scoopler became JustSpotted. Within three years of operation, JustSpotted was successful enough to be noticed and eventually bought by none other than search giant Google. In 2014, AJ left Google, after working there for three years, with plans to embark on a new start-up in the music space. And he’s only just turned 30.

Cassandra Stavrou, co-founder, Propercorn, UK
Find out more about Propercorn

Propercorn started in Cassandra’s kitchen when she was just 25. After realizing that all ‘3pm slump’ snacks either left her feeling guilty or dissatisfi ed, Cassandra set out to make a gluten-free popcorn range without the compromise. It would be “popcorn done properly”. Starting out with cold calls and endless nights packing boxes at her business partner, Ryan’s, flat, Propercorn now has a team of 30 based in London and exports to six countries in Europe. Since first launching in the Google London headquarters in October 2011, Propercorn has emerged as one of the fastest growing brands in the UK, with Cassandra working tirelessly to create a dynamic business, grounded in passion and excitement for popcorn.

John Loughton, founder, Dare2Lead, UK

Find out more about Dare2Lead

John is a social entrepreneur, campaigner and motivational speaker. John founded award-winning leadership development company
Dare2Lead in 2011, at the age of 23. John ran his first campaign aged 11 and has engaged world leaders such as Queen Elizabeth, the UN Secretary General and the President of the European Parliament, working in over 35 countries. In 2013 he was named Outstanding Youth of the World.
A business with strong social objectives, Dare2Lead is passionate about unlocking the success potential of organizations through corporate and management training while also making a positive difference in society by empowering young people through emerging leadership and development programmes. Their range of leadership development programmes combines real-life experiences of leadership and success alongside proven leadership and management tools. Th eir client base includes governments, NGOs, large corporates, small businesses and a range of public bodies.

Ross Beerman, co-founder and CEO, AllLife, South Africa

Find out more about AllLife

Ross has worked both in South Africa and internationally in the financial services sector. He worked in Corporate Finance and M&A
in the USA, and returned to South Africa in 1998 to work in private equity. In 2001, Ross founded Theta Specialised Finance, a principal
acquirer of distressed credit instruments, which was sold to a strategic buyer at the end of 2003. In 2004 Ross co-founded AllLife with the intent to provide life insurance to people living with HIV, based on the premise that properly designed systems and processes, combined with great people, could cost-effectively intervene to help clients manage their health and change their mortality. AllLife has delivered life insurance to tens of thousands of HIV people and has recently begun leveraging its IP, systems and processes to also deliver easily accessible life insurance to diabetics in South Africa and abroad.

Sandra Wanduragala, founder, and Selyna Peiris, business development director, Selyn Handlooms, Sri Lanka

Find out more about Selyn

In 1991, Sandra Wanduragala gave up her career as an attorney-at-law to start Selyn, in rural Sri Lanka. From the start, Selyn has been a family business. Sandra built the company alongside her brother, Hilary. Her daughter, Selyna (who the company is named after), is also now involved in the business.
Selyn is Sri Lanka’s only fair trade–guaranteed handloom company, and one of the country’s biggest social enterprises. Selyn has
revived the traditional Sri Lankan craft of handloom weaving to create its wide product range, including fabrics, garments, jewellery,
home accessories and children’s toys. These products are sold locally in Sri Lanka and globally in key export markets in the European
Union, the USA and parts of Asia. Selyn began with 15 women in a small rural village but has now grown to around 1,000 members, 95% of whom are women. In addition to infrastructure, technical support and a guaranteed flow of work, members are offered services such as health camps, childcare facilities, and life skills, leadership and entrepreneurship development programmes. The Selyn Foundation extends beyond the business; it is a grassroots effort to relieve poverty and empower Sri Lankan youth and women by means of education, vocational training, credit-provisions and other developmental tools.

Scott Cupit, founder and managing director, Swing Patrol, UK and Australia

Find out more about Swing Patrol

Swing-dance performer, teacher, choreographer and general enthusiast Scott founded Swing Patrol London, the dance school and events business, in 2009, based on his experience co-founding and running Swing Patrol Melbourne in his home country of Australia.
Scott has been recruited as Assistant Charleston Choreographer to Jenny Th omas on the hit UK television show Strictly Come Dancing, was crowned 2015 Dance Teacher of the Year, and has danced at both Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street. From a handful of students in a single venue, in just six years Swing Patrol London has grown to a team of over 54 teachers operating from over 40 venues across London, holding hundreds of social events each year and has developed corporate events and content-marketing functions. In 2014, Scott appeared on the popular UK television show Dragons’ Den, and successfully secured investment from Deborah Meaden.

Stefan Botha, founder and director, Rainmaker Marketing, South Africa

Find out more about Rainmaker Marketing

With several years of experience in the area of property development marketing, Stefan decided to start his own business in 2012, and so Rainmaker Marketing was born. With a focus on building and transforming brands, Rainmaker Marketing provides a turn-key sales and marketing solution that specializes in property development marketing and hospitality branding. With a niche approach, and a comprehensive in-house team, the business has worked on large-scale property developments throughout South Africa,
Mauritius and Mozambique.