Leon is one of the co-founders of MyMynd and the current Chief Exec. MyMynd is a start-up digital mental health platform, built around a holistic individual assessment of mental health and wellbeing for individuals (aged 8-adult). The generated results identify those showing signs of distress, to enact direct early intervention when validated, and for everyone else we support access to targeted resources to strengthen their ability to cope with life.
MyMynd currently has two employees, we are pre-seed, have just closed a friend and family investment round and will be commencing a pre-seed investment round in early 2021.
What is your background? What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
I was active in student politics, then started my career in the Trade Union movement, working to create workplace learning programmes. I later started, built and exited a successful e-learning company, that, at the point I left was the largest adult e-learning provider in London; then after a period travelling the world and working as a diving instructor, I returned to the UK to lead all non-care development for Leonard Cheshire Disability. Finally, prior to MyMynd I ran a boutique consultancy business supporting organisations across the public and charity sectors.
I have always had an entrepreneurial mindset, wanting to put ideas into action to change the world and make things better!
What is your definition of entrepreneurship?
The pursuit of turning a vision into a successful reality
How and when did you know your idea was good enough to develop it?
I worked on it for around a year part time testing with potential clients, partners, friends and those across my networks to challenge the business opportunity, my assumptions, fears and the market opportunity, before having the confidence to commit full time and develop MyMynd.
What would you say are the top 3 skills that needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Why?
Realistic tenacity – To be able to keep going and never give up but to also recognise where you need to adapt/change
Hope – To be able to consider multiple plans of action so that when the first fails or needs adapting you can quickly react and recognise when you need to change direction
Confidence, if you’re not confident about yourself or idea/business, you’ll never convince others to join you, buy your product/service or want to help you.
What is your favourite part of being an entrepreneur?
No day is ever the same and there is always an activity to get be getting on with
What individual, company, or organization inspires you most? Why?
My late father, because he was a successful leader who was always honest, pragmatic and empathetic. He had a positive lasting connection with everyone who met him and that is something I strive to replicate in what I do and how I act.
If you had 5 minutes with the above individual/ company/organization, what would you want to ask or discuss?
If I was able to spend 5 mins with him now, I’d love to know what he thinks about what is happening in the world right now (Covid-19, Trump, the Labour Party, etc) and what he thinks are the important things to focus on.
What has been your most satisfying or successful moment in business?
As I prefer to look forward, I’ve not reached it yet and that is why I keep going…
What would you say have been some of your mistakes, failures, or lessons learned as an entrepreneur?
We all make mistakes, make the wrong call in a situation or fail with something. The most important message is to learn from those mistakes, errors or failures so that we can improve.
The most important lesson to learn is not to worry or fear failing, I’d much rather be concerned about what I plan to do next not how I plan to avoid failing or getting egg on my face!
How have you funded your ideas?
Blood, sweat and tears! It really has depended on your situation, the idea and what you are trying to achieve.
When employed in an organisation, as an intrapreneur, I funded my activities by developing internal business cases for internal funds, creating pilots to generate revenues to fund increased development/activity or securing external grants/awards through competitive tending.
At MyMynd, I used savings, debt and sweat capital at the beginning and we’ve recently secured some investment to help us continue to build the business with a view to raising an angel investment round in early 2021.
Are there any sector-specific awards/grants/competitions that have helped you?
We’ve recently secured Innovate UK funding that has supported us to bounce back stronger from the impact of Covid-19.
What is good about being an entrepreneur in Oxfordshire? Bad?
The concentration of strong, intelligent and successful people within the wider business and start-up community; The universities, colleges and start-up support services.
If a new entrepreneur or startup came to you looking for entrepreneurship resources, where would you send them?
I would firstly ask them about their business and then either help them directly or point them in the direction of an incubator or start-up support agency.
Any last words of advice?
Remain positive, be bold, be brave and keep going.
EnSpire Oxford is a University of Oxford initiative to help connect people to the entrepreneurship resources they need, and to promote entrepreneurship across Oxfordshire.
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