After submitting an entry into the Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards several months ago, I was on the final shortlist for 'Young Business Person of the Year'. This was the first year that this particular category had been listed, and held high significance this year as Milton Keynes celebrates it's 50th birthday.
My entry was centred around the innovation that Simply Race is proud of. We are an independant company that is focused on giving great experiences but also being at the forefront of both the motorsport and leisure industries. We are incredibly proud of our 5* Facebook and TripAdvisor reviews and many drivers have commented on the accuracy and setup of our simulators.
Leaving my job as General Manager of Daytona Milton Keynes was a big jump. I struggled to find finance for what banks saw as a 'risky' venture. Luckily, with a vague Facebook post and a phone call from Michael Yau, we worked on a plan to secure finance and convince landlords to have us. Simply Race has created jobs in Milton Keynes and it has utilised a unit that was empty for four years, keeping the Stacey Bushes Trading Centre thriving. We certainly didn't have a large budget. We invested as much as possible into the simulator experience, I self-taught myself the basics and have gone from there.
The competition for the award was incredibly tough. There were some fantastic entries from Nemo Group, CineBites, Gemmedia and MK21. All of those entries absolutely equally deserved to win and hopefully we'll all be able to do business together going forwards. I had resigned myself to another competitor winning but I was incredibly pleased to hear that we had made the final hurdle and to collect the trophy from Badminton superstar Gail Emms.
As Simply Race looks towards the future, we are incredibly proud of what we have achieved in the last two years in Milton Keynes. Our unique blend of technology and sport is something we would love to replicate, both across the UK and the globe (I've just got back from some exciting meetings - but I'll save that for another time!).
I would like to say a big "thank you" to Michael Yau, my wonderful fiance Keri Rossiter, my parents and my sister - all of whom contributed to the original funding for Simply Race. I'd also like to thank Anthony Jordan, Darrek Kirk and Bradley Philpot who's help progressing the company has been invaluable.
Next year... we're aiming even higher!