We are always thrilled to hear about how well our PJEA graduates are doing and this is a particularly inspirational story. Chris Ball, who graduated from the first ever Peter Jones Enterprise Academy course in 2008 has secured a £150,000 investment to help kickstart his new business.
Chris recently launched his new online discounts website www.justsave.co.uk, which collates voucher codes and price savings from across the web into a single site. Whilst other websites exist on a similar premise, Chris noticed that one of the key drawbacks within the industry was a lack of trust – an issue he hopes to have cracked with his new venture.
“I spent a while working my way up in the industry and I realised there was so much that could be done with vouchers and discounts,” he said.
“What we realised was that there was so little trust in the industry – 70 per cent of consumers we surveyed said they had a real lack of trust in discount websites. We wanted to move away from that model to change that. We’ve got a team of real people pulling these savings from different websites, who are checking to make sure they actually work. We’re able to invest more heavily in quality assurance and put that assistance in place.”
Chris worked hard fundraising to obtain the £150,000 funding that he needed to get his business off the ground in a matter of weeks, but his success has been a long time in the making.
Having left Barry Comprehensive at 16 with what he describes as “very average” GCSEs, Chris arrived home from college one day to see an advert that would change his life forever.
“It was on the TV that Peter Jones was launching this entrepreneurship academy. My dad encouraged me to enter and after every stage I thought ‘this is going to be the one where I leave’,” he said.
“But I ended up getting right through to the end, where we had to do a business pitch. I led my group’s presentation and I just put all the digital knowledge I’d built up since I was 12 into this pitch. Two weeks later I got the call to say I’d got in - at the time it was like winning the lottery.”
Chris says that what he learnt on the course exposed him to the terminologies and concepts needed to succeed in business, providing him with an idea of the different challenges he would face. After using that knowledge to earn his big break, Chris wants to encourage other youngsters that they can make their own opportunities and succeed.
“You may not think there’s a lot of opportunity there, you see people doing things on social media that seems a million miles away from where you are. Just focus and believe in what you do and don’t wait for these things to come to you - the power is in you.”
We at the Peter Jones Foundation are extremely proud of all Chris’s work and we wish him continued success.