UCE EY Summer Startup Programme 2018/19
How did you get involved with UCE?
I spotted an ad for the Summer Startup Programme on Facebook and thought it sounded like a great opportunity. I have been working on my business, Lotus Mat ECO, since June, so it seemed like a great chance to keep doing that in an environment where there’s support and lots of like-minded people!
What is Lotus Mat ECO?
We make eco-friendly acupressure mats, which are a bed of plastic spikes, which people lie or stand on to help relieve tension and sleep better. Unlike others on the market, ours look great and are made using eco-friendly, recyclable and durable materials.
What inspired you to start Lotus Mat ECO?
I love surfing and have done a bit of yoga, so I tried out another acupressure mat brand and realised there was a gap in the market for something better. The existing product solved a problem, but also had some of its own - especially its environmental impact. Reducing plastic waste and ocean pollution has been an important cause to me ever since I backpacked through Asia and discovered lots of the famous sites were ruined by rubbish. I wanted to try to create a better solution.
And what got you interested in entrepreneurship?
I’m the type of person who likes to have control over what I do and be my own boss, which is why I wanted to start my own business! At school, I looked up to an older student who was quite entrepreneurial. He started a social media marketing agency, and offered me a job in it, which really got me started.
What are your goals for Lotus Mat ECO?
I am hoping to be selling a mat a day by the end of the summer. Beyond that, I want it to become the go-to acupressure mat brand for yogis, who I think will really like our product, as they tend to be conscious of the environment and aesthetics. It would also be great to be stocked in some more retail outlets and yoga studios.
What has been the highlight of your summer so far?
Talking to and getting advice from the mentors has been amazing. I had thought so much about everything to do with Lotus Mat ECO, but they came up with ideas I hadn’t even considered! Not only are they really experienced and knowledgeable, but they are all so friendly too. The other summer students are awesome too, so it’s been great to meet them all.
What would you say to people considering getting involved with the UCE EY Summer Programme?
Jump in and get involved! It really doesn’t matter where you’re at - even if it’s just the idea stage, you can progress so much in this environment. People don’t realise how achievable it is to set up your own business and supply chain - you just have to get started! You’ll definitely have some failures or disappointments along the way, but you learn so much so it’s definitely worthwhile.