Techstars Startup Weekend Plymouth

“Plymouth Startup Weekend inspired us to crowdfund and kicked off our journey to flourishing CIC status” Meet Big Sis, Plymouth Startup Weekend Winner 2019

“Plymouth Startup Weekend inspired us to crowdfund and kicked off our journey to flourishing CIC status” Meet Big Sis, Plymouth Startup Weekend Winner 2019

Big Sis is a social enterprise supporting young girl's mental health as they develop from pre-puberty into womanhood. The organisation help parents, carers, teachers and schools with resources and useful information around growing up with the mission to educate on the importance of pre-puberty and support girls through this important time. They also run wellbeing, menstrual care and mum and daughter programs with the objective of giving every girl the tools they need to have a positive relationship with themselves and others.
Founding Director, Friedel Fink is a Holistic Health Educator specialising in women’s health, with ten years’ experience alongside that as a practicing Yoga and Meditation Teacher. Having a varied background, she is passionate in finding creative and innovative ways that inspire girls to strengthen their body image, emotional resilience and self-esteem. With a series of successful projects behind her, Friedel has run her wellbeing business ‘Peace Patterns’ for three years and volunteers for other empowerment projects worldwide.

We spoke to Friedel about what Plymouth Startup Weekend has done for BigSis and how it can help others in the same position.

Q: What drew you to the Plymouth startup weekend?

A: “Myself and my team were looking at lots of events that could help with starting the business and setting us on a good track. We had the idea and were completely taken with it but we needed that extra boost.

“I was already self-employed and was loving it but desperately wanted more sustainability. I guess I first learned about Plymouth Startup Weekend through a friend - she explained to me what intensive incubation could mean to help bring ideas a step further. The incentive for me with this particular event is that it was close to home, affordable and pretty intensive.”

Q: What was it about the weekend you found most helpful?

A: “I adored working in a group, I haven’t done this since University. I’m good at creating business ideas on my own but the input from other people made me think outside the box and challenge my ideas, what we ended up with was developed further than I even imagined it would. Having that ability at a very early stage to test the idea to a pool of people was very valuable.”

Q: What was it about your pitch that stood out?

A: “From my work with teachers and mums, I had come to know that some of the key issues young girls between 8 and 12 are facing are in the main mental health and confidence resilience. At that age you have to understand change and I think a lot of people connected with that during my pitch. It’s also the case that there’s not a lot of this type of support around. I think Big Sis stands out for that reason. This type of education has been happening in Australia for 10 years or so, it’s amazing the UK hasn’t followed suit.”

Q. How has it helped you on your business journey since?

A. “I gained a lot of useful contacts during the weekend which have come in handy throughout my journey. The ongoing support from iMayflower has been wonderful too, they firmly sit on our pledge page where we thank people who have made this all possible. We’ve even had the opportunity to do radio interviews and community outreach through the event’s connection with the Plymouth community. I also did some work with the University and received funding during the Crowdfunding process, gaining support from Plymouth City Council. I’m glad they made this commitment, the local area certainly needs the services Big Sis offers.”

Q. Top tip for anybody thinking of attending the online startup weekend?

A.”Just give it a try, even if your idea doesn't seem ready or perfect, just bring a seed of an idea. Everyone gets something different from this programme and a seed might be all you need.”

Q. What were the most helpful prizes/ people involved?

A.”The AYCH programme was the most beneficial, I received free mentoring and that helped me beyond words. Rob Love from Crowdfunder was also in the panel and I had seen that Crowdunder were a partner of the iMayflower project. That’s where I got the idea to Crowdfund and I had tonnes of support from iMayflower whilst doing so.”


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