Changing the face of entrepreneurship at Number 10

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I am a games maker. I am a founder. I am a mother. And I guess I am an ‘entrepreneur’. Why is it that this last one still feels funny to say?

Maybe because I never expected to be here. I didn’t set out to become an entrepreneur. When I was at school, I never even considered the idea. And I’m sure the careers adviser never suggested it.

Wrongly or rightly, the stereotypical view of an entrepreneur I’d absorbed from society was of the ruthlessly ambitious workaholic, sacrificing their family and personal life to focus on selling and negotiating around the clock, in order to dominate in the harsh dog-eat-dog world of business. This persona didn’t feel relevant or appealing to me at all. So how did I end up here?

Entrepreneurship happened to me

The idea of setting up a business to get my game, Randomise, out into the world came about more as a necessity than a lifelong dream. I was stuck in a job that was sucking the life out of me and I wanted to find a different way to put some good out into the world.

When I quit my job and founded Gamely Games, I was fully expecting to be thrown into the stressful, lonely, all-consuming struggle I’d imagined awaited all ‘entrepreneurs’. But my experience of setting up a business couldn’t have been more different.

What I discovered was a huge network of support and advice, and a community of new entrepreneurs creating businesses with purpose and balance. People doing business differently, starting with what is good and meaningful and growing their companies in a way that made their lives better every day.

Amazing support

Initiatives like the Happy Startup School, Entrepreneurial Spark and the Kings20 accelerator scheme at King’s College London (just named the UK’s most Outstanding Entrepreneurial University) have given me invaluable support and guidance, and these communities make starting and growing a business much less daunting and far more enjoyable.

I found that platforms like Kickstarter go a long way towards levelling the playing field for aspiring creators. And, crucially, I discovered outsourcing services that make running a business a really viable option for people who can’t, or don’t want to, work 80 hours a week.

For example, thanks to the Fulfilment by Amazon service (who pick and pack all of our Amazon orders) I was able to work an average of just half an hour a day after the birth of my first child and turn over more than £100k in the first six months of his life. I discovered that it was possible to run a thriving business that fits flexibly around your other priorities.

Who else is missing out?

I’m not saying that starting a business is easy by any stretch. I know that each entrepreneur will face their own set of unique challenges and will make their own compromises. I am also very aware of my own privilege and the many advantages I have benefited from, simply by being born into a white, middle class family in the UK.

But why was my perception of entrepreneurs so different to the new reality? Why did I have no idea that entrepreneurship could be an option for me? And who else is missing out on these opportunities because they don’t see people they identify with running businesses?

These are questions I don’t have the answers to. I know I’d love to play a part in changing the face of entrepreneurship and raising the profile of successful startup leaders who don’t fit classic stereotypes. But what this looks like in practice/action I’m still working out.

I have read that 70,000 people across Britain would like to start up their own businesses but haven’t done so. 28% feel that the process is too complex, and 36% don’t have enough confidence in themselves to go it alone. I want those people to know that it is possible, and that there are many different routes to success.

Asking the big questions  

Tomorrow I’m going to raise my questions at Number 10 Downing Street.

Through Kings20 I’ve been invited, along with 10 other entrepreneurs (including the incredible Tobi Oredein of Black Ballad and Ismail Jeilani of Scoodle), to a round table discussion with Jimmy McLoughlin, the Prime Minister’s Special Adviser on business. We’ll be asking what the government could do to promote entrepreneurship to a wider audience.

This isn’t just good for society, it’s good for business and the economy. My little company Gamely Games now employs several people and has turned over half a million pounds. If we can show more people the flexibility and empowerment that entrepreneurship can offer, imagine what value that could bring - to their lives and to the economy.

I’ve no idea what will come from this meeting at No.10, but I want to be part of the conversation.


Disconnect to Reconnect - go screen-free for 30 minutes this Christmas

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At Gamely Games, our mission is to help 1 million people spend more quality time together.

We know the pressures of modern life make it difficult to find enough hours in the day. In fact, one in four parents say they don’t have enough time to spend with their children, and 60% say that the time they do have together is spent in silence in front of the TV. 

Believe me, we hear you. As busy parents ourselves, we know the struggle to make it home for bedtime and the Herculean effort required to find the energy to drag your kids away from PAW Patrol. And if you’ve got older kids and you try to come between them and their phones or games consoles – good luck!

Our lives are increasingly reliant on screens, and there’s not much we can do about that. We’re not going to do away with the smartphone or the TV, and we wouldn’t want to! But finding just small chunks of time to disconnect from all devices and connect with our families away from the distractions of screens makes such a difference to our relationships and our mental wellbeing.

That’s why we’re launching the Disconnect to Reconnect campaign this Christmas! We want everyone to find just 30 minutes on Christmas Day – in between the festive movies, carols and the Queen’s Speech – to turn off the TV, put away the phones and consoles, and spend quality time together.

You might want to take the family out for a walk to work up an appetite (and make room for that second helping of Christmas pudding!), or you might want to get everyone together to play a game. You could just sit around and have a chat. It’s totally up to you. Just put aside 30 minutes to be completely present with one another.

Whether you’ll be with family you see every day or spending time with relatives you only meet up with on special occasions, this is an opportunity to build a deeper connection and learn things about each other’s lives you might never have known.

Are you in? Post on Instagram about your plans to #DisconnectToReconnect and tag @GamelyGames, or come and tell us on our Facebook page. We’ll choose 20 people at random out of those who pledge their commitment to receive a free Gamely game to encourage your family to embrace the screen-free time.

Let us know how you get on! 

Welcome to the gamely blog

We at Gamely love making super-fun games that bring people together to laugh, connect and have a great time together. But we’re also a company that wants to be just a liiiiitle bit different to the others - as well as being fun we aim to be generous, kind and to really make the world a better place. And so we decided it’d be good for us to set up somewhere to talk about all these things - from donating loads of games to refugee camps and families in need here in the UK, to trying to be a brilliant place to work for our little team and giving away at least 10% of our profits.

And, of course, the aim while we do all of this is to have loads of fun along the way. We hope you’ll enjoy getting a little insight into the life of Gamely, and we’re excited to share a bit more of what we’re about with you.

Starting with something we’re very excited about - our disconnect to re-connect Christmas campaign…

We can’t wait to share it with you. Lots of love,

Hazel, Chris, Tina and Dave - The Gamely Team