In one way, Andrew Shaw’s experience and expertise meant he was well placed to make the most of the burgeoning market for solar panel and battery storage system installation. After all, he had a degree in Electrical Engineering as well as Electronics and Telecommunications and had already designed and installed a solar and battery storage system for his own house.
But a year after coming home to the southwest from London in 2017 and spending a year installing EV chargers and re-wiring farms, Andrew came to us to help his new business, iJo Power, grow.
In one of those serendipitous twists you sometimes find early in a business’s story, Andrew was allocated Sam Taylor as a mentor. She had previously owned a successful consumer electronics company, and her expertise was such a good fit for iJo that, in summer 2021, Andrew invited her to join the business as a co-Director and shareholder.
Obviously, both of them knew their specialist subject well, but Sam was especially well place to know which Unlocking Potential programme would best suit iJo’s needs too. That programme was Future Focus, and Sam says:
“It is always worth taking the time out of the business day – the Unlocking Potential team really do pack in a lot of value. I know we don’t pay for events, but for SMEs, time is our biggest resource – we need to know it is worthwhile and the Unlocking Potential events always are.”
Future Focus targeted ambitious and successful innovators at a stage where they were looking to expand, develop and work out their medium-to-long-term strategy. The programme’s focus would often be on out-of-county trips to meet and learn from national innovators, as well as on opportunities to mix with peers, swap experiences and learn from each other.
For iJo, a particular highlight was a trip to London for an e-commerce event. It not only provided valuable networking opportunities, but also the chance to meet and keep in touch with others in similar positions, as Sam recalls:
“We have an e-commerce WhatsApp group and continue to provide each other support.”