Founding Director and CEO Becky Lodge (BA Hons) CIM, offers strategic consulting advice to boards, corporates and SMEs on the subjects of innovation and digital transformation; including business growth. Little Kanga Ltd has over 1,000 global associates to call upon.
We spoke to Becky Lodge, Founding Director and CEO of Little Kanga Ltd, about what Little Kanga are working on now, the future ambitions for their company and what they like most about being based at Fareham IC!
1.How did you start your company?
I started my company in 2015 from the kitchen table with £1000 in the bank; after being employed in corporate life, as a Sales and Marketing Director for over 25 years (in male-dominated companies and market verticals). It was time for a change, I needed to ‘give back’. Something was ‘missing’; and I needed a start-up adventure to see if I was made of the right stuff!
I am predominantly a creator, innovator and future thinker around the subjects of strategic sales and marketing, including devising/designing B2B growth events that have economic and social impact; using digital and social media to increase engagement and sales conversion.
Primarily, my first goal was to help start-ups and small businesses to GROW. To help them gain access to knowledge, funding; support and PR exposure (that was lacking in the market); for those entrepreneurs with ASD/ADD; dyslexia, social anxiety and those that are neuro-diverse; help was needed desperately for these groups to be supported correctly.
I had grown tired of hearing of start-ups being ‘ripped’ off and those with additional needs were being exploited by charlatans. In my mind, this had to stop.
So I came up with the idea of a ‘safe space’ online group, to be able to remotely support people with advice, support, signposting and compassion, to help them along the start-up path. This later became the brand ‘StartUp Disruptors’; where we started with 9 people in a pub, grew to 120 members in a year (had to move to a bigger Fullers pub!) and we now have 2500 online members on social media channels, with an active and engaged small business community offering for more formal support for just £19.99 a month and SME and corporate sponsors to help share the message and support our growth.
I started by questioning and later disrupting the landscape of traditional business support; through the use of digital and social media platforms to acquire tech and creative start-up customers rapidly; and then shared this message globally; through my event and social media brands/online communities. We were onto something.
My brand StartUp Disruptors is now sponsored and supported by such names as Uber; Funding Circle, Transmit Startups, Fullers and many more.
My brand Hampshire Meet The Buyer is now sponsored by Portsmouth City Council and supported by the University of Portsmouth Business School. Customers include: National Grid, Wates, Balfour Beatty, Corrigenda, IndieGogo, VaynerMedia/The Sasha Group, Uber, Comserv and many others.
2.What are you working on at the moment?
I do a lot of work on corporate innovation and management consulting, around the future of work and entrepreneurship.
This week, I am delivering a keynote with Kier Construction at WeWork in Manchester about Inclusion and Diversity, sponsored by Kier, J Murphy and Son, CIOB and CITB. The importance of a diverse future workforce is paramount and we need to encourage more girls and women into STEM careers. Having worked in these environments, want to knowledge share with the next generation and regularly speak in schools and colleges about my experiences as a women in STEM and construction.
My work also encompasses collaborating with universities and councils, on both the design and implementation of innovation hubs across the UK and I have worked on tactical projects to help universities both increase engagement and build communities for start-ups and entrepreneurs.
I also speak professionally and advise on gender parity in the workplace; typically within male-dominated market verticals such as construction and STEM businesses.
As one of ‘Sky News 100 Women’, I am an advocate for gender parity in the UK, having been selected from 10,000 applicants to secure this position. My career history was in radio software and engineering/construction industries, so am well versed in knowing the existing and future challenges for these markets.
3.What do you like about Fareham Innovation Centre?
The centre is convenient to home and when you are a new business time is always money.
The support of Stephen and Hannah over the last few years has been paramount in my journey and they are super supportive, even though I am often wandering around the building with a selfie stick filming for social media. They are patient and kind. Kindness is the primary thing that I look for in a supplier or customer, it’s a thing for me.
If you don’t care, I’m not interested.
‘The Bridge’ event space here is great, as I run a lot of events and good tech and air conditioning is a ‘must have’ to help B2B events run smoothly; especially as I work with large corporate customers on high level strategy and consulting projects, it’s great to know that we have the kind of facilities on hand that can support our brand identity as we grow.
Some of our StartUp Disruptors are now moving into the building as well, a start-up eco-system is pivotal to early stage success, you need like-minded people around you who ‘get it’. I am delighted that we are incubating business owners through this community, that are succeeding and scaling up, we have secured over £100k worth of funding and support for start-ups through loans and grants and many are now in their own premises and employing people, this is what life is all about; helping one another.
4.What projects/ambitions do you have for the future of your company?
My plans for global world domination are taking shape! I would like to grow the business to employ further support for the company’s growth. I currently operate with a small hub of 7 people globally and would like that to grow.
We are also searching for more corporate companies to support us through sponsorship to continue our social and economic growth impact with StartUp Disruptors, there is a strong chance that our Hampshire Meet The Buyer event will be re-licenced nationally and globally, local businesses have won nearly £0.5mn worth of contract value through this event in only 3 years, keeping contracts local is vital to the success of Solent based businesses.
Our aim is to help 10,000 start-ups and small business owners grow their ideas into businesses in the next 5 years and subscribe to our community of StartUp Disruptors. They will then be able to attend our scale-up event Hampshire Meet The Buyer, so that they can win corporate contracts to continue their growth and scale-up. This is a conference come expo with a focus on contract awards, funding and digital innovation.
I have already personally mentored over 3,000 business owners since 2015; and want to help more.
Ultimately we are able to scale both models globally, as we have created a new market vertical ‘entrepreneurial pastoral care’ which takes care of the whole entrepreneur, including emotional/mental health and wellbeing, we are currently working with Solent Mind to signpost relevant services to our membership base, should they be required at any stage.
We are also building a digital platform to support the future growth of the business and brands online too, so we are already a ‘one stop shop’ for everything that a start-up business needs from insurance, funding, support, PR, social media exposure, growth advice.
People first; that’s my mantra.
If you think you can support us, then please get in touch with me.