Role and company:Managing Director of Ecoigo
Company turnover (and most recent ebitda/most relevant profitability metric):We are approaching a turnover of 4m with a gross profit of over 40 per cent.
Employee numbers:30 Employees and over 150 drivers
Growth forecast for the next three years:For me establishing solid foundations was key, over the next three years we intend to capitalise on that. We have a fantastic team and a have worked on making sure we are providing the best service in London. We’re forecasting that with the recent growth that the business will easily double within the next three years.
In under 50 words, what makes your business distinctive in its marketplace:We put our green values at the very centre of everything we do, which is why we are the most environmentally conscious car service in the UK market. We ensure we deliver the best service, at a better price, whilst making a small positive difference with every single journey.
What’s the big vision for your business?To become the first thing to pop into every Londoner’s head when they are choosing to book a car. Looking further afield, it would be great to be well known brand synonymous with exceptional service as well as outstanding environmental credentials. There’s the possibility of taking the core Ecoi values and extending into the wider industry such as offering eco travel solutions with EcoiTravel, as well broadening into other markets. From working in a forward thinking environment I often see better and more responsible ways of doing things.
Current level of international business, and future aspirations:As the sole supplier to Eurostar Business passengers, Paris has always been an interesting proposition. Employment law in France previously made starting Ecoigo in Paris problematic, however things have changed slightly over there recently so that may be something we’d consider in the future.
Biggest career setback and what you learned from it:I’ve had a few, I’m quite an all or nothing kind of person so have taken some big gambles in the past, sometimes they haven’t always worked out but you live and learn and experiencing these pitfalls just makes you more resilient and makes the whole journey that much more interesting.
What makes you mad in business today?Mad is quite a strong term, I don’t often get mad, but organisations who put the profits of their company entirely over morality are frustrating. There are ways of being successful whilst also being responsible. Also, anyone using any car service other than Ecoigo when they need a cab, they must be nuts! The mind boggles.
What will be the biggest change in your market in the next three years?Zero emission transport, this is something we are striving towards, it’s becoming more of a feasible reality every day. Electric cars will be commonplace within three years, followed by driverless vehicles after that.
Can businesses in your sector/industry access the finance they need to grow? If not, what can be done to improve things?Historically this sector hasn’t got the best reputation for this, it’s always been a bit difficult. But things are changing. Especially for a business like ours which is tailored more to the corporate market. Banks seem to understand that we are not typical to our sector due to the fact our business model is significantly more honed to offering our services to the business sector.
How would others describe your leadership style?Delegation is key, I’m fortunate now to have a great team in place so am taking more of a back seat lately, although it’s hard not to get involved with things when you are so passionate about what you do.
Your biggest personal extravagance?I love to eat out in nice restaurants; I think it’s important to fill your spare time with interesting experiences. My next big extravagance will probably be a Tesla Model S – it’s a fully electric sports car with a range of over 200 miles on a single charge and also has the highest safety rating. We’re also looking forward to making fully electric vehicles part of our fleet here at Ecoigo in the near future too. These things are definitely the future of transport!
You’ve got two minutes with the prime minister. Tell him how best to set the UK’s independent, entrepreneurial businesses free to prosper:I think it’s important to encourage more lending by banks to start-ups without security. At the moment it’s unlikely that no matter how good your proposition is that you will actually get funding. It’s a real shame that as a result of this young entrepreneurs are having to sell off huge chunks of their businesses or having to rely on crowd funding in order to get the necessary equity to get their venture started. I’d also be sure to ask Mr Cameron that if his hairdresser can get an OBE for his haircuts, why can’t I get one? By Shané Schutte
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