Octopus is a group of companies founded on the belief that being an entrepreneur can really make a difference. Right from the very early days, when the Octopus co-founders started the business in Chris Hulatt’s living room, they’ve continued to champion the entrepreneurial spirit across numerous sectors, inspiring loyalty and devotion from customers, partners and employees.
Today, in Simon’s words, Octopus is “An entrepreneurial company, run by entrepreneurs who want to see more entrepreneurs in the world”. Which is why we’re launching ‘Octopus Springboard’, a new initiative aimed at helping Octopus employees become fully-fledged entrepreneurs.
Here’s how it works
Over the next 12 months, Octopus will set aside a pot of money which will be made available to a handful of entrepreneurs who successfully pitch their new business ideas to us.
Octopus employees will get the chance to pitch to Simon, Chris, or any of the Octopus CEOs. If they think the concept has legs, the budding entrepreneur will get the chance to explain it to a broader group of people, including start-up experts from outside of Octopus.
Pitch time: what happens if they knock it out of the park?
If the pitch is successful, the entrepreneur will be granted a four-month sabbatical from their role to give them a chance to get the idea off the ground. Over the four months, Octopus will pay them an ‘entrepreneur’s salary. We’ll also give each entrepreneur enough working capital to help get the business up and running. In return, Octopus will take a small stake in the business.
Learning the life lessons that all entrepreneurs must face
Life as an entrepreneur isn’t easy. If it was, everyone would be doing it. Running a start-up requires a very different mindset compared to working in an organisation. The risks of failure are far greater.
So, anyone who wants to become a successful entrepreneur needs to consider the ‘trade-off’ between today’s reward (as a salaried employee) and the future value of their business (equity). Many entrepreneurs have to put their business ambitions on hold simply because trying to survive for a few months without any salary coming in makes it impossible.
By offering a competitive salary, Octopus Springboard removes a large proportion of this risk. In the early days of any business, cash is unbelievably important. We want our entrepreneurs to make sure they spend all available cash (including their own), very carefully.
From employee to entrepreneur… but what then?
Once they’ve started their business, our entrepreneurs won’t be left on their own. Throughout their sabbatical, they’ll benefit from mentorship, networking introductions and guidance from Octopus people who know what it takes to build a business.
After four months, it’s decision time. Our entrepreneur panel will evaluate the progress made and determine whether their business is ready to take off.
If it’s not going to work out, the entrepreneur can return – older and wiser – to their old job. But if the business has a bright future, they’ll set off on an adventure with our blessing.
Plus, they’ll be able to use crowdfunding to pitch their concept to your ex-colleagues to see if any of them are brave enough to back them. After that, the world is their oyster…
We’re really excited about Octopus Springboard. We know from experience that many people have the ‘entrepreneurial itch’, and this should be the catalyst. We’re encouraging everyone at Octopus who has ever dreamed of taking the leap to get thinking and start putting their best ideas forward. Even if it doesn’t lead to a new start-up being formed, it promises to be an amazing journey.
Octopus Springboard is only open to permanent employees of Octopus. But if you’re interested in working for a company that believes in backing budding entrepreneurs, perhaps it’s time to consider a career at Octopus.