Five Minutes With . . . Hugo Catchpole, founder of iStreet.org.uk
PUBLISHED: 10:28 24 March 2015 | UPDATED: 10:28 24 March 2015
Gina Long talks to the social entrepreneur Hugo Catchpole, founder of iStreet.org.uk
Your social enterprise www.iStreet.org.uk is so innovative, how did it all begin?
A couple of years ago I was planning a cycling world record attempt and wanted to raise money for charity. But looking for alternative fundraising ideas, I realised it was an overlooked area. I started playing with the idea that we could connect charities with hundreds of retailers, so that when anyone shops online their chosen charity gets a small percentage of every purchase, without it costing anymore.
Give me a typical day in the offices of iStreet.
We like to keep all our charities, retailers and users happy so we spend quite a while replying to and sending emails. I usually make a small plan in the morning of what I want to get done in a day or week. I spend most of my day developing the site, but I like to get involved in everything, including social media (@hugocatchpole is my Twitter user name).
How much time do you spend online?
Far too long! iStreet is completely online, so most of my working day is spent on the internet. I try to stay away from Facebook as much as possible but my biggest weakness for online procrastination is probably YouTube videos, where it is so easy to drift away while watching one after another.
Where would you ultimately like to see yourself in years to come?
I would love to be helping as many people as possible and raising millions for charity. I have a few more fundraising ideas up my sleeve if iStreet is a success. I think I have been inspired by George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces and a bit of Grand Designs. Building an affordable eco-home that could be completely off-grid is something I aspire to do. I would also like to have travelled and explored more countries.
What does it take to be an entrepreneur?
You have to be passionate about what you are doing - and believe in it - while having the determination to go through with it. I believe a good vision is key to being ahead of the rest of the market.
The best advice you’ve been given is . . .
‘It’s not the amount of years in your life it’s the amount of life in your years’. While in a work-sense, it has to be: ‘You can fail at something you don’t like doing, so you might as well take a chance doing what you love doing’.
Who do you admire most and why?
That’s a hard question because there are a lot of amazing people to admire in the world doing incredible things. I can’t say anyone specifically, but I do tend to admire those that are humble even amid great success.
What do you do in your spare time?
I bought a Drone for photography last year and have been using that when I get the chance, the pictures you can get are unbelievable. I also like cycling, squash, hockey and anything else that will keep me in shape.
What are you most proud of?
I organised a charity bike ride called QuadLeJog that involved myself and three friends cycling a four-man bike (a quadricycle) from Land’s End to John O’Groats. We did it in 10 days and became the first people to ride a four-man bike from Land’s End to John O’Groats. We currently hold the record.
Your three favourite Suffolk places are . . .
Southwold in the summer - for the beer, beach huts and beautiful views. Woodbridge for the selection of pubs, mills and the River Deben and Stoke by Nayland for the golf.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Smelly cheese. I love trying different cheeses and a strong blue cheese has to be one of my biggest guilty pleasures.