Jordan Ryan Madeley and Michael Lawes
Manchester entrepreneurs Jordan Ryan Madeley and Michael Lawes are launching SPAR GO, a loyalty app for selected SPAR stores in the UK, at the age of just 23 and say they owe a slice of their success to the Manchester technology community.
The two young entrepreneurs are making waves in the technology industry with their no-nonsense approach to business and, despite some early setbacks, their technical expertise has landed them a contract to supply SPAR stores with a loyalty app.
Lawes and Madeley are co-founders of BizzleIt, an online platform helping businesses connect their latest offers, products and services with the right consumer groups and helping small businesses struggling under the costs of SEO and online marketing.
Lawes, who launched his first full business at 17, said: “Last year we got knocked back on a deal we had been working on for many months. It was worth millions over a three-year contract and would have set the business up for life.
“It was a harsh blow. We had invested a huge amount of time and money into that tender and they decided to go for a more established company, even though their product was average. At the time we believed the decision was down to how they perceived us and because of our age, because our product was head and shoulders above the competition.”
But Madeley, the technical brain of the business with experience in web development and graphic design, says that the pair’s young age is not a factor, as the quality of their product and their preparation speaks for itself.
He said: “We are young and we have a good time but we get stuff done. Being young means we have a great knowledge of this technology and how people are using it.
“There are 2,600 SPAR stores in the UK which demonstrates the sheer size of SPAR and the growth potential that’s there with this type of cutting edge technology.”
BizzleIt’s founders put a percentage of their early success down to the availability of mentorship within the Manchester technology community, with UKFast CEO Lawrence Jones, Wakelet founder Jamil Khalil and Webantic founder Luke Grimes all cited as positive influences on the pair’s early career.
Madeley continued: “Manchester’s a great place to build contacts, whether that’s in legal or HR or marketing. People help each other out. We’re all at different stages in our journey and there’s always going to be someone who’s been there and done it and were where you are right now.
“Lawrence fed his experience down to us and that’s helped us to grow and develop. We initially went to him just for hosting but he was always interested in us as entrepreneurs and when we were working on our first big deal it was so useful to bounce ideas off him. He’s been there and done it and he’s a great help.”
Cloud firm UKFast last year acquired the 40,000 sq. ft. building adjacent to its current campus in Manchester and Jones plans to open the space up for early-stage technology businesses to support the Northern technology industry.
Jones said: “Manchester has the infrastructure, resources and travel connections, but most importantly it has people with incredible desire to succeed. The city is perfectly positioned to capitalise on the wealth of opportunities arising from the digital economy and we’re working hard to keep the momentum going.
“Jordan and Michael have done incredibly well so far and I wish them all the best in the future. I am always available if they need advice or support.”
The technology industry in Manchester is worth more than £2.9bn to the local economy, providing more than 62,000 jobs.