15 October 2013

On Monday night, upstairs at Leaf on Bold Street, I delivered a 5-minute presentation to 10 trustees who make up the Liverpool chapter of The Awesome Foundation.  Decked out in my Liverpool Film Tours uniform, I pitched an idea in the hope of getting a £500 cash injection in my business.

Starting your own business is hard work. A lack of money, time and customers can keep you awake at night.  In this current economic climate, it is difficult to access funding from traditional lenders without having at least equal funds to contribute yourself. This is where The Awesome Foundation can help.  Founded in Boston in 2009, The Awesome Foundation now has chapters as far and wide as Bangkok, Berlin and Bristol, and their Liverpool chapter became active this year.

It couldn’t be easier to apply for a grant; visit their website, click on apply and answer a handful of questions about yourself and your business.  Feeling particularly awesome about myself, I applied for their October gift.  Within days, I received an email telling me my project had been shortlisted, and that I was invited along with three other businesses to deliver a 5-minute presentation to 10 trustees.  The prize for the winning bid was to be a no-obligation gift of £500, funded equally by each of the 10 friendly, well-connected trustees through a monthly £50 contribution.

I was competing against Tag-Art, Mad Hatter Brewing Company and HeartBeat, I wanted £500 to spend on equipment to enhance my tour experience.  After considerable deliberation, the judges awarded the gift (deservedly, in my opinion) to Nicola from Tag-Art, to help fund the purchase of materials for the use in community art projects, with the aim of improving lives and inspiring change through art.

Despite being unsuccessful on this occasion, the trustees provided me with a lot of positive feedback, offered me advice on advancing my business and as an alternative to traditional networking it was a great opportunity to swap experiences and, importantly, business cards. I am now connected to the trustees and my fellow finalists through Twitter.

Previous recipients include Home Advantage Liverpool, who aim to bring the community of Anfield and football fans together using local residents' spare bedrooms to accommodate visitors to both Anfield and Goodison Park. 

If you have an Awesome idea, don’t keep it to yourself.  Share it with The Awesome Foundation.  For more advice on starting up a business in Liverpool, visit Liverpool Vision, who offer a free mentoring service to support new start-ups.

Find out more about Liverpool Film Tours, where FACT members can enjoy a 20% discount on all tour tickets. Our next tour is taking place on Saturday 19th October at 10am.