Credit goes to the business backing the next generation of creative talent
We caught up with Samantha Hornsby and Mae Yip, Co-Founders of ERIC; the platform that’s supporting young and creative types and, at the same time, connecting the creative industries to them.
Saving money is always a positive thing! And any additional support we could get will certainly help us.
Tell us what ERIC is and what your business offers?
ERIC is an alternative careers service for young people who want to get into the creative industries. We run ERIC Festival, which is an immersive creative career fair and ERIC Mag, which is regular online information, news and insights about the creative industries. All of our content is designed for young people, by young people so it's relatable, inclusive, current and totally free - it's very different to normal career services!
What was it that inspired you to set-up your own business?
Mae and I have been best friends since we were eight-years-old and we were always both really creative - Mae wanted to work in fashion and I wanted to work in TV. But life happened, and Mae ended up becoming a chartered accountant and I fell into the tech start-up world. Not exactly what we had planned! We met for a drink one night and started talking about how unfulfilled we were and what had happened to our creative ambitions. We deduced that there are so many barriers for young people who want to get into the creative industries, some of which we experienced ourselves - nepotism, lack of inclusivity and representation, huge financial barriers and elitism. Basically, if you don't have contacts and money, it seems near impossible to find your way in. So we decided that we needed to create something that connects the creative industries and the ridiculously huge amount of undiscovered creative talent together. And that's why we created ERIC! We looked at all the other connection platforms out there and they were all so boring and clearly created by people who had no idea what young people like, interact with, engage with, so we knew we had to make it appealing for young people first and foremost. Which is why ERIC looks the way it does! And it works - we have hundreds of people come along to every event and our biggest marketing tool is word of mouth, which is certainly evidence that young people like what we do.
Do you think an Entrepreneur ISA and a Small Business Savings Allowance would have helped aid your company’s growth in the early stages?
Yes we do. Saving money is always a positive thing! And any additional support we could get will certainly help us and anyone who is looking to take their first steps into the start-up world.
What have been the biggest challenges you have faced so far?
Our biggest stress is actually a pretty good one to have - Mae and I are the only ones that run ERIC, so we struggle to supply the demand sometimes! We have so many companies who want to work with us and so many young people who want to come to our events or read our content, every now and then we do get a little snowed under. But we're looking for investment at the moment so hopefully we'll be able to hire some new team members in the near future!
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Our advice would be to reach out to as many people as you can and constantly make friends with like-minded people. There is strength in numbers! As I mentioned, word of mouth is our biggest marketing tool, not just amongst our audience of young people but also in terms of companies who want to work with us, and we're positive lots of that has come through attending random events, messaging friends of friends, reading articles and seeing someone's name and reaching out to them... being vocal about what you're doing and making those connections is so powerful. We love it when people message us asking to chat :)
What is your proudest achievement to date as a company?
Our proudest achievement to date is having helped so many young people - just over 10,000 young people have signed up to our events, which is a huge number for us as we've only been going for a year and a half. It's something we are constantly amazed by - the fact that we are genuinely making a difference to so many people's lives and futures! In terms of milestones, working with Mayor of London to help launch Sadiq Khan's new Digital Talent Scheme was amazing, and also working with The Barbican and Somerset House - two cultural institutions we would never have dreamed of being able to work with at such an early stage in our business.
Samantha Hornsby and Mae Yip are Co-Founders of ERIC.