Deaf News: Deaf brothers chosen for national Entrepreneurial Spark programme

Posted on February 12, 2015

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Two deaf brothers are taking part in the UK-wide Entrepreneurial Spark programme, launched in Birmingham this month in partnership with the NatWest Bank, as they develop their communication support website, cSeeker.co.uk (who are also a supporter of this site).

Guy, 30, and Alex Orlov, 35, are among 80 small businesses and start-ups participating in the city’s first intake of the scheme. Guy has already taken part in a three-day intensive business bootcamp, and the siblings have moved to Birmingham from their respective former homes in London and Leeds to engage in the scheme.

Birmingham houses the first of eight new “business accelerator hubs” where entrepreneurs can access mentoring, workspace and 18 months’ worth of advice, support and funding clinics.

Screen-Shot-2014-07-29-at-15.47.59Budding entrepreneurs also get to network with each other, and equally Guy and Alex will have the chance to pitch to prospective investors and for “growth awards” of up to £50,000 cash injections.

All accelerator services are provided free of charge and, unlike Dragon’s Den, entrepreneurs do not give up any equity.

The launch of these hubs follows the success of Entrepreneurial Spark in Scotland, where it was founded two and a half years ago. Now Birmingham is the first of eight cities across the UK where the programme, which has its roots in similar models in the US, is being rolled out in partnership with NatWest.

Guy and Alex’s business is a website which allows deaf people to directly book the right Language Service Professional (LSP) for their needs, based on searches focused on cost, distance and feedback.

It aims to take out the “hit and miss” element of some web searches and eliminates the need to check professional qualifications.  All listings are for professionals with National Registers of Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind people (NRCPD) registration, or the ANP (Association of Notetaking professionals).

Various kinds of professionals are listed, from lipspeakers and speech to text reporters to interpreters and note takers.

cSeeker.co.uk (the “c” being short for Communication) was set up in early August last year and now has hundreds of professionals and deaf service users registered to use its subscription plans.

The launch event for Entrepreneurial Spark was attended by potential investors, city council representatives and NatWest directors. Also there was former Apprentice winner, restaurateur and entrepreneur Yasmina Siadatan.

Alex said: “The event was fantastic. We spoke to many potential investors who were really interested to see our live site and growing LSP database.”

“It was already so exciting setting up cSeeker.co.uk, and this superb opportunity just takes it to a whole new level. We’re thrilled to be living in Birmingham, and to be embarking on this wonderful scheme. We’re confident it can open up so much for us.”

To find out more about cSeeker, click here.

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Posted in: deaf news