A YOUNG entrepreneur whose business idea caught the eye of a Dragons Den member has set himself a 31-day target to raise cash to help him progress to the next level.
Luke Robertson set up Wall Chimp after leaving school in 2012, and provides vinyl wall art which he designs then manufactures himself.
After deciding to set his own firm up rather than going to university, Luke has had a flying start to life in the business world and has already caught the attention of Theo Paphitis, the British retail king known for his role on Dragons Den.
Luke bumped into Mr Paphitis at a business awards event last year, and the millionaire showed a keen interest in his idea and has kept in touch with regular emails offering advice.
The 21-year-old, who lives in the Bishop Cuthbert area of Hartlepool, is now setting his sights on making Wall Chimp a market leader, but has found himself faced with hurdles in terms of getting finance.
The former English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College student has now set himself a target of £12,000 over a 31-day period.
Luke said: “Being a young person in business and with such a young company, it is often hard to secure loans and finance due to having nothing to secure against it, such as a home, not to mention the large repayments.”
Rather than trawling the High Street to find a bank willing to back him, Luke has signed up for the Kickstarter project.
The online campaign allows sponsors to make a no-risk pledge to support businesses, safe in the knowledge that if the target isn’t reached then they won’t be out of pocket.
Luke added: “Kickstarter is a crowd-funding website which allows inventors and entrepreneurs to post projects for members of the public to pledge money in return for a reward.
“It has has helped over 71,000 projects so far, and all projects must receive 100 per cent of their funding goal otherwise no money is debited.
“It’s a real all or nothing deal, but I’m hoping I can gain some support to help me progress.
“I’m doing well and I’m delighted with how things are going for me, but I don’t want to stand still because then you get overtaken.
“I would like to improve my website to offer more products and a wider range of wall stickers.
“In addition to that it will allow customers to go online and design their very own wall sticker from their tablet or PC choosing from a range of sizes, fonts and colours.
“It’s just about delivering the best service I can, but it’s difficult to progress without any funding.
“All help is greatly appreciated and I want to highlight this by putting all backers’ names on the new website.
“This really is an opportunity for anyone to say ‘I was a part of that’.
“I also want to take this opportunity to show other young people that there are ways out there to start your own business venture and there are people out there who want to help. You’re never too old or too young to follow you ambitions!”
To find out more about how to help Luke in his quest for success, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website www.wallchimp.co.uk