Your D+I: Chris Allan
Your D+I provides diversity and inclusion consultancy and workshops, with a focus on supporting SMEs
Name of founder: Chris Allan
Age of the founder: 36
Date launched: 13 September 2020
Number of employees: 2
Founder Chris Allan was furloughed from working with a D+I recruiter before launching Your D+I, a diversity and inclusion business that offers consultancy and workshops. Here, Allan describes the startup process…
What does your business do?
We are a diversity and inclusion consultancy and workshop provider. We specifically (but not exclusively) support SMEs on their D+I journey, and have recently launched our D+I starter kit for SMEs.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
After being discriminated against for my sexuality at work 13 years ago, I was terrified of coming out. I set up Your D+I in order to be a voice for change, and support businesses and individuals in becoming more diverse and inclusive.
How did you know there was a market for it?
After BLM last year there has been a much larger call to action from all involved in business.
What were you doing before launching your business?
I was furloughed from working with a D+I recruiter.
Have you always dreamed of starting a business?
I have, yes. I never thought it would happen, especially mid-pandemic, but here we are.
How did you finance your business?
Clients paying for consultancy and workshops.
Explain your business model and how you make money.
What are the main challenges you have faced? And how did you overcome them?
Launching amidst a pandemic has had its challenges, as before you would run workshops in person, not via Zoom. However, I'm finding people engage more online as I think they feel it's a safer space.
What has your experience been of starting a business during a pandemic?
Amazing, actually. I have made more connections than I think I would have if we weren't all online.
Describe your first breakthrough.
Working with a creative and digital agency back in November. They were one of our first clients who wanted to address the lack of diversity they witnessed as a business. We are still in touch with them now, and plan to work together again.
What advice would you give to other aspiring business owners?
Adapt. This virtual world won't disappear after lockdown. Make sure your business is set up to cope with the new virtual world. Also, network and ask questions. I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't.
What is one resolution you have for your business this year?
To grow our team and continue to grow our charity committee.
How do you see your business developing in the next three years?
Increasing the team and who delivers the work, and continuing working with our local university. And perhaps a few in-person events.
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