Job title: Founder & CEO
Where are you from? Edinburgh
What made you decide to start your own business?
UWI Technology is my second start up business. I set up a 3D Visualisation and Animation company in 2001 that catered for the Property Sector, which eventually grew into a full multimedia agency.
The idea for UWI came about in March 2008, when I was making lunch for my son Adam, who was at 8 at the time. I had taken a jar of mayonnaise out of the fridge, but could not remember when I opened it. It said on the back, “once opened, use within 4 weeks” and since I could not remember when it was first opened and contained raw egg, I threw it out and made something else for lunch instead. UWI was not incorporated until August 2009 when I won £5k from the NESTA Starter for 6 organisation and needed to lodge it into a business bank account.
In case you didn’t realise UWI stands for Use Within as in the instructions on the back of the jar of mayonnaise way back in March 2008, “once open, Use Within 4 weeks”.
What’s been your biggest success in business to date?
2 big things:
- Very proud to be the first Scottish company to ever receive investment funding from a US based angel syndicate. The syndicate is made up of senior executives of from the Aerospace industry and saw the benefit of the UWI Label and how it could save them money and time.
- More recently, 8 years after the original idea, producing commercial samples to run trials with a medical supplies company in America. While the idea and the look of the UWI Label is simple, the technology developed over the years is extremely complex, but essentially creating a clock in a label that can be calibrated, from minutes, to hours, days, weeks and months, is extremely satisfying, not just for me, but the great team at UWI.
What’s the best business advice you’ve ever been given?
Never give up.
Which entrepreneur inspires you the most?
Steve Jobs, Elon Musk – the usual suspects, but closer to home Alan Steel, if you don’t know him, seek him out and listen to what he has to say. Utter genius.
Which 3 qualities do you think are most important to have as an entrepreneur?
Determination, thick skin and humility.
What business tool could you not live without?
Why are you an Ambassador for WeDO Scotland?
Over the years, I have realised there are very few successful people who have achieved this all by themselves. You will always need help and advice at some point in your journey. During my entrepreneurial journey, I have learnt some things that did work, but more importantly, many things that didn’t work. It is this kind of information that should be shared openly, (there is no shame in failing) with other members of WeDO Scotland. It is a great networking resource with a tremendous pool of talent that all members should have access to.
- Location: Edinburgh