The hookup: Derby’s match-making initiative for micro business partnerships

Discover how ‘the hookup’ is redefining collaboration, unlocking partnerships, and helping to drive economic growth in a post-pandemic world.

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In the digital age, finding the perfect match has taken on a new meaning – not just in the realm of romance, but in the world of business as well. 

Enter “the hookup”: a new online platform designed to connect small and micro businesses in a unique and innovative way. 

The Hookup brings together the expertise of creative and digital marketing agency Think3, and Ask the Chameleon, a specialised business consultancy known for its prowess in tender writing and business award nominations. 

This Derby-based initiative is rapidly gaining attention, having recently secured funding from Innovate UK.

A matchmaking platform for entrepreneurs

At the heart of The hookup lies a simple yet powerful idea: to create a virtual hub where entrepreneurs can meet, network, and forge mutually beneficial partnerships. 

After the pandemic, our appreciation for support squads and niche opportunities for deeper connection (such as venture capital opportunities specifically for female-funded startups) has never been more prevalent. 

Born out of the challenges posed by the lockdowns of 2020, The hookup was developed in under two weeks, providing businesses with a platform to offer assistance to one another. 

But The Hookup’s ambitions didn’t stop there. The platform has evolved into a comprehensive tool that not only enables short-term swaps but also encourages the cultivation of long-term relationships

Accelerating growth with funding from Innovate UK

The recognition and support of Innovate UK have proven to be a pivotal moment for The hookup. 

The platform was selected as one of the 14 businesses in the East Midlands to receive a share of £400,000 in funding from Innovate UK. This injection of capital is expected to accelerate The hookup’s mission.

Rachel Hayward, joint founder and owner of Ask the Chameleon, expressed her enthusiasm for the funding opportunity, stating: 

“The funding will help us to accelerate our goal to change the way small and micro businesses connect, collaborate, and thrive. Business is tough, and we aim to give our members the knowledge, tools, and meaningful connections necessary to grow their businesses.”

As the platform continues to gain momentum, it is poised to not only transform the business landscape for small and micro enterprises not simply in the heart of Derby, but in the UK as a whole.

To find out more about The hookup, visit:

Written by:
Stephanie Lennox is the resident funding & finance expert at Startups: A successful startup founder in her own right, 2x bestselling author and business strategist, she covers everything from business grants and loans to venture capital and angel investing. With over 14 years of hands-on experience in the startup industry, Stephanie is passionate about how business owners can not only survive but thrive in the face of turbulent financial times and economic crises. With a background in media, publishing, finance and sales psychology, and an education at Oxford University, Stephanie has been featured on all things 'entrepreneur' in such prominent media outlets as The Bookseller, The Guardian, TimeOut, The Southbank Centre and ITV News, as well as several other national publications.

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