Laurence is an Oxford Launchpad – based entrepreneur and founder of Slingshot Recruitment, who is working to solve the country’s employability problems. He has been involved in recruitment for over 4 years, working for the country’s biggest recruiter for 2 years. He has a degree in Economics from the Open University.
Q: Why recruitment?
A: The agency experience is terrible! I have been on the candidate end of it, and it is not helpful. In many cases it is more about keywords than actually finding the right candidate for the right job. I want to solve this by actually finding a cultural and ethical fit for both the candidates and companies, ensuring as good a match as possible.
Q: So what would you say are the top skills that needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
A: Stubbornness is very important! You’ll get a lot of ‘no’s’ along the way. Having a positive outlook is essential for keeping motivated as well. And being a dreamer, because you should always be thinking bigger, faster, better in order to attract interest.
Q: What is your favourite part of being an entrepreneur?
A: Having a big dream and following through. I want to completely change an institutional norm to enact societal good!
Q: What individual, company or organization inspires you most?
A:. Hmm. . . I can’t really think of a specific one right now. But any company that tries to create societal good and still remain profitable!
Q: If you could have 5 minutes with one of these companies, what would you want to ask or discuss?
A: I would ask them how they update their vision? Most will start with a big vision, but as their needs and ideas shift, how does their vision shift?
Q: What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
A:. Helping so many people, personally, find jobs that are more than just jobs. And of course, getting people to believe in me and trust that I can do what I say I will.
Q: What would you say have been some of your mistakes as an entrepreneur?
A: Staying solo too long. It would be so much easier to have people to work with, to have someone to bounce ideas off of. I’m working on that now.
Q: What is good about being an entrepreneur in Oxford? Bad?
A: Oxford attracts great talent, has amazing intellectual capital, is an amazing brand in itself. It has so much potential as a startup ecosystem. But there are issues with housing and infrastructure, and of course it is always being compared with Cambridge (different places, people!). We could really use something like a Google Campus to create more buzz and give startups more support.
Q: If a new entrepreneur or startup came to you looking for information or resources in Oxford, where would you send them?
A: The Launchpad! I walked past it one day, and thought it was amazing, so I walked in and asked how I could work there. It’s a great place for startups, and offers great support.
Q: Any last words of advice?
A: If you question whether you should be an entrepreneur, then don’t do it! It’s hard enough when you are sure! Make sure the “problem” you want to solve is a real problem, and something that you are passionate about. It’s not easy at the best of times, so try and find something that means something to you.