Names: Josh Graham and Adam Vaughan
Course: Environmental Geography and Climate Change, and Ecology
Tell us more about ehabitation
The housing crisis is creating isolated communities, expensive houses and an unsustainable legacy for housing in the UK. We are harnessing existing digital technologies to turn residential development into an on demand service by aggregating the different parts of the custom build sector into one place for facilitating custom build housing. To make sure people are aware of and have access to the increasingly cheap, modern housing technologies, for better quality of life and a more sustainable society. In doing so we hold ambitions to completely revolutionise the current housing industry, eradicate the bad habits of the current market and create something new.
How did UEA Student Enterprise help you?
The enterprise team have always been on hand to give us advice and support, which has been the most important thing whilst setting up our business. They have also continually supported our networking efforts through introductions. We have also received generous financial support in the form of two grants and a competition win, which gave us a development team to help us build the digital side of our business.
What worries did you have while setting up your business, and how did you overcome them?
Neither of us came from a business or tech background, which could be perceived as a problem. However we have done lots of reading, research, attending events and speaking to industry leaders, which has helped grow our skill set and is the foundation for building our credibility.
What ignited the spark in you to start a new business rather than look for work elsewhere?
We had seen from our own research, from personal experience, family members’ experience and modules taught on our courses that the housing system was completely and utterly broken. Large private developers have been allowed so much freedom that it has crippled the country's ability to build more homes and they have no incentive to build homes which foster community or meet even the most basic environmental standards. The industry sees increasing profits yet there is no sign of innovation of any kind. We are extremely passionate about masking housing about people again and making those houses affordable and environmentally sustainable.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Passion, a desire to learn from every mistake, the ability to network well at any time and place.
What motivates you?
It’s clear to us that much of society is broken and unequal, to us this is unacceptable given the vast knowledge and wealth the human race possesses, we therefore get our motivation from the knowledge that we are fighting to fix a small part of the problem.
How do you define success?
We define success as helping make a positive difference in people's lives and helping prevent the negative consequences of climate change. With the ultimate success being to completely disrupt and alter the way in which houses are currently built and sold.
Where did your funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? Was UEA part of this?
To date all of our funding has been received through the UEA from Santander, we are however in the process of seeking funding from angel investors.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Winning the app competition and being part of the subsequent meetings discussing how to build out the platform, which is fundamental to our business has been the most exciting moment so far.
What piece of advice would you give to university students who want to become entrepreneurs?
Start now. You have so much time at university and you have lots of other people with different skill sets around you. Start coming up with ideas now and you’ll begin to get into the entrepreneurial mindset. Explore ideas which are completely outside your field of study. Search for the problems you want to solve in the world and come up with solutions.