James is a Portsmouth based entrepreneur who set up Forty1 Kitesurfing in 2017. James’ background is in Mechanical Engineering which, combined with a love for water sports, skiing, snowboarding and skateboarding, saw him come up with the idea for his new business.
Forty1 Kitesurfing is focused on developing the Hydrofin, a low-profile hydrofoil that retrofits onto your existing kiteboard which allows you to ride out in lighter winds whilst staying in the shallower waters. The Hydrofin gets rid of the need to buy larger, expensive kit.
“Being made redundant made me want to take control of my life – I wanted my future to be on my terms. I had the idea for the business and decided to go for it.
“I’ve sold a few accessories since 2017 and now the Hydrofin is in early release. It’s a development project and setting expectations for it has been a challenge.
“Understanding what the timeline is for a completely new concept as a start-up business is really difficult. Yet, I looked at so many courses which would try and get you to pin down a date for the launch of your product which was frustrating.
“Finances and coping on a tight budget were also a big challenge. Financially I needed to cut back on and look at where I spent my money if I wanted my start-up to be a success.
“Finding the right support, training and funding has been crucial to the success of my business. One of my biggest achievements so far has been winning £10k from Just Develop It as part of the Enterprise competition.
“I met Radian’s Employment, Support and Training team after I had started my business and was really starting to build the brand. I was beginning to get a better understanding of what the design needed to be, what its capabilities were and how to communicate these selling points.
“But I was ready to take my business to the next level and so signed up for their ‘Create’ self-employment course which I would definitely recommend. The training really helped me with the ‘business’ side of Forty1 Kitesurfing. They understood the nature of my business and didn’t force me to set timelines – instead tailoring their support to me.
“It’s also been amazing socially. I have met some really inspiring people along the way and it’s been good to connect with people who understand my situation.
“I’d encourage people to really engage with the training to get the most out of it. Attend every session, put the work in and talk to as many people connected to the course as possible. I was also lucky enough to have a promotional video created for me which was astounding.
“Radian’s EST team are really friendly, always engaging and optimistic. I would certainly recommend them to anyone looking to make their start-up business a success.”
Find out more about James’ business on his website: www.forty1kitesurfing.co.uk
Radian’s ‘Create’ course is a self-employment programme designed to support those thinking about starting their own business. The comprehensive course is open to people whose ideas are ready to transform into a business; providing students with essential information, access to a team of experts and up to two years post-course support.