Startup businesses in the East Midlands are to be given the chance to pitch for funding and support to help them reach their potential and grow.
Two entrepreneurs in Lincoln are launching Featured; a new investment and growth incubator that’s designed to take startup businesses to the next level through investment, marketing support, business advice and coaching.
Featured is the latest project from entrepreneurs Peter Watson and Bradley McKenny who both founded digital marketing agency, Distract while they were at university. Within just three years of launching, they’ve helped Distract become one of the East Midlands’ largest marketing agencies and now the pair are looking for other businesses they can guide toward success.
Peter Watson says that Featured is a way they can give aspirational business leaders the support they need to get off the ground or scale up: “We’re looking for innovators and disruptors who have a great idea, a brand new product or an amazing set of skills who want to build up a business that can flourish.
“We’re inviting entrepreneurs to get in touch to pitch their businesses and, if they impress us, we’ll buy a stake and give them the help they need to get their business growing. It’s a bit like Dragons Den but not nearly as scary, and it could be even more transformative.”
As well as making a financial investment in successful businesses, Featured can also give entrepreneurs access to expert business advice as well as Distract’s team of marketers who can help companies stand out through branding, web design and advertising. Bradley McKenny says that the investments they’re hoping to make could give a business the boost it needs to break into a market: “For lots of startups or businesses on the verge of launching, this could be their big break.
“When Peter and I started Distract, we’d both made money from smaller business ventures which gave us the capital we needed to launch the digital marketing agency we’d always wanted to start. We were very lucky to have that and we were also in a fortunate position when we were launching the company because we were at university and we didn’t need a lot to live on.
“This meant we were able to pump everything we had into the business and it was enough to get us off the ground. If it weren’t for those factors, we wouldn’t have been able to start the company without the kind of help which we’re able to offer through Featured.
“Hopefully, Featured can help lots of other exciting new companies get off to a great start to help them scale up just like Distract has – maybe even faster. We’re really looking forward to seeing the kinds of businesses that come forward and it’d be great to support them and help them grow.”