Martin Baker - One Team Logic
Martin Baker, Managing Director of One Team Logic and winner of the Digital Start-up Award at the Wales Start-Up Awards shares his experience with us.
LET’S START WITH A FEW QUESTIONS ABOUT WINNING YOUR CATEGORY IN THE WALES START-UP AWARDS:
How did you start your journey with the Wales Start-Up Awards? Tell us about the application and judging process.
We heard about the awards through our Relationship Manager at the Accelerated Growth Programme. He felt that the exponential growth we had achieved in such a relatively short time, the customer feedback we were receiving and the way that we had overcome some of the obstacles that inevitably face a new business were worthy of recognition.
To apply we had to enter a detailed written submission – initially, we had entered just one category but as we were eligible for two categories we were encouraged by the organisers to submit a second, who thought we met criteria for both. We put quite a lot of work into preparing our submission but it was a really helpful process because it challenged us to identify the things that we had done that really made the difference.
The judging stage was pretty intense! Once we had been shortlisted we were grilled in depth by an expert panel of judges (a different panel for each award). The panel chair was the founder of the awards, Professor Dylan Jones-Evans, Assistant Pro-Vice-Chancellor at the University of South Wales along with representatives from NatWest Bank/Entrepreneurial Spark (the main sponsor of the awards) and Welsh ICE. The sponsor for the individual award categories were also on each panel, (CircleIT for Digital Start Up of the Year and ES/Disrupt for Services Start Up of the Year).
The ceremony was fantastic, like nothing we’d attended before. It was full of buzz, excitement and energy from all the attendees.
Do you feel that winning the Wales Start-Up Awards helped to grow your business? If so, can you share with us how?
Absolutely, winning both categories we had entered was hugely rewarding and very exciting for our team, which fed directly back into our business.
Since the awards we have taken on more staff in the following departments: Sales and Marketing, Customer Service and the Software Development Team, which allows us to further commit to the safeguarding of children.
We’ve also been approached by a number of Welsh Businesses and our profile has been in raised in Welsh Schools.
2018 is set to be a big year for us, we have some great projects planned and lots to get done to continue growing, spreading our message and enabling the role of those responsible for the safeguarding of children easier, more efficient and safer than ever before.
What would be your top tip when writing an application for an award?
Believe in your product, your business and your team.
If you live and breathe your industry (as we do with protecting children and their well-being) this should come easily to you. Just try not to overload the application. Keep the detail concise, but make sure you mention the key points – for us the experience of our Directors as former senior police officers and the expertise of the safeguarding consultants we employ (from a range of backgrounds including social care, healthcare, education and other agencies) is of huge importance to us and our customers.
It’s always great to use real-life case studies and feedback from customers who have really benefited from your products/services. We’re lucky enough to have a huge selection of schools who are happy to tell anyone who will listen how MyConcern has transformed the way they managed safeguarding in their schools.
NOW, WE’D LIKE TO KNOW A BIT MORE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS:
What was your motivation behind starting your chosen business?
Throughout our careers in policing, Mike Glanville (Director of Safeguarding Services) and I were involved in a wide range of child and adult safeguarding and child protection cases. We are also school governors and so were naturally interested in how schools were tackling those issues. It was during this time we discovered the worrying amount of sensitive information being recorded on paper, kept in four-ring binders and locked in filing cabinets. This makes the information hugely difficult to share securely (e.g. with social care and other professionals) and very difficult to analyse.
The lack of traceability and accurately recorded information (which would be admissible in court) was quite frankly terrifying. Having identified a need for a secure, safe electronic method for recording and reporting concerns, we teamed up with Darryl Morton, the owner of Logic Software (One Team Logic’s sister company) and from that collaboration, MyConcern was born.
Our business has been built around safeguarding professionals, with the protection of children and young people at our very core – it is at the heart of everything we do. We’ve developed our solution with that in mind – to really fit the needs of teachers and those responsible for safeguarding and wellbeing in schools. We stand out because of our people and the quality of service we deliver.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
Knowing that the software that we’ve developed – MyConcern - has helped to transform the protection of children and will continue to help keep children safe across the UK and around the World.
Seeing the difference this is making in schools – specifically to those who hold the responsibility of the safeguarding of children in their care – is the most rewarding part of this job.
Their roles are so vitally important and MyConcern ensures that they are doing this efficiently, securely and in the best way possible.
Tell us about your first entrepreneurial experience.
In commercial terms this is it! However, in policing we were often faced with new challenges, the advent of austerity being a great case in point! We had to take £10m out of our £120m ‘business’ in just one year while continuing to deliver on our legal obligations and to meet a wide range of emerging threats, including many of the issues now facing schools. This required us to adopt a hugely entrepreneurial approach – searching for new ways to do literally everything, remaining optimistic, enthusing our 3000 staff, maintaining public confidence and keeping within budget! Clearly, this was very challenging and carried some significant risks but by working as ‘one team’ we achieved our objectives.
What do think is going to be the biggest challenge for your business during the next few years?
There are a number of new safeguarding and wellbeing issues that are coming into play. The advent of the internet now means there are many more dangers that young people face. From cyberbullying to online grooming, anxiety reinforced from social media, sexting and even online radicalisation, today’s young people are exposed to many more issues than the generations before them. It’s important that these are identified and that caregivers are fully aware of how to deal with these wide and complex issues.
Furthermore, the number of reported sexual abuse cases has increased across the UK and a contributing factor has inevitably been the awareness of cases into historic sex abuse and high-profile cases such as Jimmy Saville and the ongoing national Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse
All of these developments are putting a significant and immediate strain on front-line services such as schools and colleges who are now dealing daily with such issues. They need the type of support that we are providing to ensure they can cope and react appropriately to these additional needs.
How do you conquer those moments of doubt that so often stifle or trip or stop so many entrepreneurs with great ideas...what pushes you through?
The greatest piece of advice I was given was only ever do something you truly believe in. Nothing is more important than the protection of our children and young people and enabling them to thrive. They’re the next generation – we need to ensure their wellbeing. We champion this message every single day in everything we do.
Knowing MyConcern is changing lives and preventing harm to children is certainly motivating!
AND TO FINISH:
If you could time travel back to day one of your startup and have 15min with your former self to communicate any lessons you've acquired with the intention of saving yourself mistakes and heart ache, what would you tell yourself?
Don’t be tentative – decide on your priorities and take massive action!