MAKE YOUR MARK
Note to journalists: When using this case study for media purposes,
please reference the ‘Make Your Mark campaign’
The idea for Smarter Housing first came to Adam Arnold, 24, in April 2005 while he was still a student at the University of Warwick.
Stressed and annoyed by his dealings with estate agents to find somewhere to rent in his second and third years, Adam was convinced that he could do a better job. So he set about finding a time-saving, stress free solution to the problem of finding good quality student accommodation that benefited both the prospective tenants and the landlord.
The answer was Smarter Housing, a web-based business that sources properties for the student rental market, oversees the agreement process and handles the maintenance of the property.
Once he had graduated, Adam started to work on his business idea full time, and incorporated Smarter Housing Limited in August 2005. Being laden with £13,000 worth of student debt, Adam wasn’t in the best financial situation to be setting up his own business, but his drive and dedication to what he knew was a good idea saw Adam raise £50,000 within just four months.
The majority of this money came in the form of grants and flexible loans tailored for business start ups such as the University of Warwick’s Enterprise Fellowship Scheme and the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Link.
Adam’s big break came when he spoke to a friend’s landlord who, it turned out, had several properties on the student rental market in Leamington Spa. He told Adam he was frustrated with dealing with estate agents, and that he was prepared to try a different approach. Adam wanted to make a good impression and worked fast to let these properties. His hard work paid off and prompted the landlord to recommend Smarter Housing to friends. Adam soon had 20 properties on his books, which led Smarter Housing having a profitable first year in business.
Smarter Housing’s growth has been extraordinary. After originally operating in Warwick and Coventry, in the first two years of business Smarter Housing has expanded to cover Leamington Spa, Nottingham, and Stratford Upon Avon. Adam hopes for even faster expansion over the next two years, with plans to go nationwide by 2009.
Adam’s advice to somebody considering setting up a business is, “Do it now! If it goes wrong you’re still young enough to focus on something else, or learn from your mistakes and move forward.”
For further information please contact Victoria Harris or Henry de Rougemont at Colman Getty: 020 7631 2666
Notes to Editors
The Make Your Mark campaign, which is run by Enterprise Insight a not-for-profit organisation, is all about inspiring young people to have ideas and make them happen. The campaign is backed by an unprecedented coalition of businesses, charities, education bodies and government.
It was founded by the four leading UK business membership organisations – the British Chambers of Commerce, the CBI, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Institute of Directors. Their Director Generals sit on Enterprise Insight’s board. It is also supported by the Small Business Service of the DTI and personally endorsed by the Chancellor.
National organisations working closely with the campaign include:
Arts Council England
Association of Colleges
Black Training and Enterprise Group
Business in the Community
Department for Education and Skills
Learning and Skills Council
National Education Business Partnership Network
National Federation of Enterprise Agencies
Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship UK
Quality Improvement Agency
South-East England Development Agency
Small Business Service
Social Enterprise Coalition
Specialist Schools and Academies Trust
The National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship
The Prince’s Trust