PocketApp is today’s UK’s largest independent app developer. eOffice is proud to have assisted the company in their growth phase in our eOffice Holborn Centre and we were very happy to hear when CEO Paul Swaddle was named one of the mentors for the Mayor’s International Business Programme, a new bespoke mentoring initiative providing expert advice and real business opportunities for high-growth companies in the life sciences, technology and urban sectors.
The programme was launched by Boris Johnson to support 800 London based fast-growing companies increase their international business potential over the next three years. It is the first programme of its kind, with the support of some of the world’s most experienced and successful entrepreneurs offering invaluable advice and private sector backing, to help London companies to scale up and internationalise.
We had the pleasure of sitting with Paul and ask him questions about his involvement with the programme.
eOffice: What caught your attention about the programme that made you want to get involved with it?
Paul: I met a representative of the programme in Mumbai while at the British Business Group’s monthly networking event. We got talking about the work, and about helping others do business internationally. As someone who has already had to navigate international waters I know how tricky that can be, so I was keen to get involved in the programme so as to support some of these high growth businesses in the capital through mentoring and essentially offering what expert advice I could give them.
eOffice: What will your responsibilities be as mentor be?
Paul: As I stated previously, the programme really aims to support high growth companies in the capital to increase their international business potential over the next three years. Essentially the programme is designed so that us mentors can provide the support and advice these business people need to make the biggest impact on their journey to international business success.
So my role will really be three fold
1) Offer my time face to face or on skype to high growth companies in the technology/mobile application sector looking to expand into India.
2) Offer one on one mentoring/coaching sessions with entrepreneurs seeking to expand into the technology mobile application market. This will be conducted via skype or face to face depending on what is most appropriate
3) Take part in “One to Many” mentoring round tables organised by the Mayor’s International Business Programme team during Trade Missions to market.
ned so that the support and advice you receive will make the biggest impact on your 3,
eOffice: Who is the target audience for this programme and what benefits do you see for them?
Paul: The programme targets high growth organisations in the Tech, Life Sciences and Urban (Smart Cities/Future Cities) sectors, so organisations in these vertical markets will join the programme for 12 months, in which time they will be able to benefit from a number of bespoke services including, monthly workshops in London to help them navigate the nuances of doing business in overseas markets and meet like-minded peers who are facing similar business challenges.
Organisations will also benefit from one to one and one to many mentoring in key markets overseas (initially in Europe, North America, India and China) to help them with a) specific questions relating to their international plans/business plan; b) introductions to trusted advisers and valuable networks and c) where appropriate, introductions to investors.
So there are a plethora of advantages for organisations who join the programme. I believe it is a great initiative as international expansion whilst a key enabler, can also be a minefield to navigate yourself around with regard to laws, currency, culture and regulation, particularly in certain countries. So it is crucial to have programmes like this which allow mentors like myself, who have already enjoyed success overseas, to help remove the barriers for the next generation of budding entrepreneurs.
Interesting facts about Paul
Paul is a self-confessed ‘gadget geek,’ and has been working at the leading edge of mobile technology for the past 15 years. He co-founded Pocket App, the UK’s largest independent app developers, in 2011 to bring the creative and technical development elements of mobile technology together under one roof. Paul’s extensive industry knowledge and renowned reputation in the app development sector resulted in him being headhunted for one of the judging roles for the acclaimed BBC Television flagship programme, The Apprentice, in 2015.