Name: Kate Batty
Course: Spanish with International Development
KTroo specialises in fitness, parties and events on rebound boots. Aiming to engage, educate and inspire people that being active can be fun!
"The more active you are, the greater your ability to stay healthy. It may sound dramatic, but being active really can transform your quality of life and perhaps, even your life expectancy. Your heart, your lungs, your bones, your whole body works better when you get active. Activity is essential not only to physical health, but also to mental health and well-being. Being active can help us feel happier, more confident, and is proven to have positive impacts on behaviour, learning, and self esteem." Kate Batty - Founder - KTroo
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What motivated you to set up this business?
I saw and started using rebound boots on my year abroad in Spain, and couldn’t believe how I didn’t get any post exercise aching or knee pain (which used to happen). Whilst in Spain I started to think about the possibilities of using these boots in the UK, and after looking through funding and business advice pages, I finally spoke to Finbarr over Skype (I didn’t know much about Student Enterprise at UEA before this!) When I got back to Norwich and UEA to finish my final year I started to write a business plan which Finbarr and the team helped me with. From this I managed to secure £3000 of start-up funding from Santander Universities, which enabled me to buy twenty pairs of boots and start KTroo once I had finished my final exams.
The name KTroo comes from a combination of my name and kangaroo - Kate/Katy-roo, and much of the music I use is inspired from work and study abroad, in particular Latino music, as well as using popular music.
Due to the low impact benefits of the boots and from the benefits I had personally experienced, I first launched KTroo with adults. With so many enthusiastic children wanting to get bouncing too, and having witnessed the need for more quality and diversity within the physical activities offered to children, KTroo Kids was born in February 2015. In order to get the money to buy kids boots I ran a Crowdfunding Campaign. KTroo Kids 'Bounce & Laugh for a Healthier Heart’ focuses on delivery to children aged 6+. We use fun child friendly music and routines, as well as incorporating games and activities.
Seeing the response to KTroo continues to motivate me to do what I am doing.
How did UEA Student Enterprise help you?
The Student Enterprise team has helped me in so many different ways. From writing the initial business plan, securing funding, setting up a society, to linking with local schools, organisations and events. They have also helped me find props and take photos for the KTroo website, and have assisted in involving KTroo in University events, room bookings, references, letting me use the Uni nightclub to film. The list goes on.
I guess if I had to summarise, the main thing that stands out are the staff and the opportunities available. I have been given constant support and advice, and the feedback is always critical and honest, which is what I need (friends and family often aren’t too critical or just have experience in other things). Finbarr and the team always seem to be able to make time to help me talk through all the craziness that goes through my head! The professional yet approachable support and advice has been, and is, hugely appreciated (and needed). The team genuinely care, and a lot of individual staff members have really gone above and beyond to help me move forward with KTroo - I can’t thank everybody enough.
What have the biggest challenges been setting up your own venture?
- There is a lot of behind the scenes stuff that involves being sat down at a computer, the website for example ahhh! Paperwork, emails to a million and one different people. Sitting still in general is the challenge - not the bouncing.
- Money. It is pretty essential to start and grow a business/concept. I think in the case of KTroo, perhaps more so since it offers something that most people don’t know what it is or what to expect. It is constant. You can have the best idea in the world but if no-one knows about it, it’s not going anywhere!
- Feeling overwhelmed. I have so many ideas and things I want to do or feel I should be doing, it is easy to feel you have never ending things to do and not know where to start.
- My plan after uni was to travel more and I'd love to travel and live in more countries, so KTroo has been a big commitment for me.
- Leaving KTroo in Norwich. Although I am back in Norwich frequently, not being fully in control of KTroo there is hard.
- Finding the right people to move KTroo forward. I want KTroo to be as fun as possible for whoever is taking part. Having the right people involved is essential.
- Figuring out how to grow.
What are the main positives of starting your own business?
Having freedom. Being creative. Everyday is different. Getting to do something that I really believe in. Seeing the progress. Seeing other people get excited about KTroo. Seeing how you can have an impact on other people’s lives. Getting to know lots of great kids and adults.
What are your dreams and aspirations for the business?
I want to grow KTroo. I also want to take it to another country where I can use my Spanish.
KTroo started with adults in the summer of 2014 after I graduated. 2015 has seen the launch and growth of KTroo Kids, and for 2016 the aim is to expand our reach, with a particular focus on engaging, educating and inspiring more children & young people.
What advice would you give other students and graduates looking to launch their own venture?
You need to really believe in what you are doing, passion is essential. Be ready for hard work, setbacks and perseverance. It is not easy, hence why most people don’t do it!
Imagine where you want to be in 3/6/12 months time and let it motivate you to get there.
A lot of students and graduates are unaware how much support UEA can give them, it is like gold dust to get support like this, so use it.