Meet the Entrepreneur: Ann Attridge

Ann Attridge, Founding Director of Klik2Learn, was an Scottish Enterprise supported RSE Enterprise Fellow in 2010.

Her company is based in Glasgow.

Hi Ann, please tell us a bit about yourself

Prior to being offered an RSE Fellowship, I’d worked in public sector education in various roles. I’d always had an interest in the world outside education and did a couple of placements in journalism and advertising. When technology appeared in the scene, I was immediately hooked and yet frustrated at the limitations we encountered when trying to implement it in classrooms. Following a successful application to the RSE, I was able finally to put my ideas into practice.

Can you describe Klik2learn in 20 (or less) words?

Klik2Learn brings innovative digital solutions to learners of English.

What is the best business lesson you’ve learnt so far?

Don’t just talk – listen. Walk around in your potential customer’s shoes for a while and understand their problems before you offer them a solution.

What is the best thing about being an entrepreneur?

The freedom to determine your own destiny – that of course includes the freedom to make your own mistakes…Hopefully there’s satisfaction to be had from helping others to fulfil their potential thanks to your products/services.

How did the Enterprise Fellowship help you get to where you are today?

It was crucial. It enabled me to make the break from full time employment with the safety net of a year to learn and experiment. It also provided a network of contacts within the business world which are still important today.

If you weren’t doing this, what else would you be doing?

Probably still involved with some kind of education provision and probably getting more and more disillusioned!

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs trying to start a business out of University?

Get your IP straightened out at the earliest opportunity and then allow an extra year or two to get a document actually signed! I was fortunate in that to begin, with we weren’t a traditional spin out so could just develop and control our own IP but subsequently, I’ve gone through these experiences with other projects.

Dead or alive, if you could have any mentor, who would it be and why?

I might have to go for a hybrid – a mixture of Steve Jobs’s ability to ‘lead the orchestra’ and Richard Branson’s ability to get creative things done in a commercial environment without, by his own admission, knowing the difference between net and gross profit.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. What do you wish you’d known before launching your business?

A couple of things:

  • How long it would take and how much it would cost in terms of hard cash, sleepless nights and long day
  • Not everyone who offers help is following the same agenda as you. Take a step back, do some due diligence and see if you can find any ulterior motives

What keeps you going when the going gets tough?

An innate desire to find solutions and not be beaten by a problem – plus the reluctance to let my excellent core team down.

What makes a good day at work?

When a long pursued lead actually materialises or you’re not distracted from doing what you’re best at – be it technical or creative. Having some cash hit the bank comes high on the list too!

What would your younger-self think about where you are now?

How did you end up here? When I was a student, there was a rumour going round that we might all end up one day with our own computer and that some of the bright mathematicians I knew were actually working on that. The pace of change has been so fast that my younger self could never have imagined what I might be doing now! The same of course will apply in future….

RSE Enterprise Fellowships

RSE Enterprise Fellowships enable researchers from across the UK to commercialise their work. With the support of a salary and business development fund, awardees get to focus solely on refining their business ideas whilst also gaining access to some of best commercial training and mentorship available in the UK.

The next deadline for applications is 1 November 2017.