Founder: Ella Davidson
Year started: 2009
PR can be invaluable for a start-up. Editorial endorsement tends to carry far more weight than paid-for advertisements, providing a platform to help companies grow. But the traditional PR agency model, which usually involves a monthly retainer fee, can prove prohibitive for most small businesses, while many find their budget is not large enough to get them very far.
Enter Startup PR. Ella Davidson describes her business as a 'virtual' PR agency. With new businesses in mind, she is challenging the traditional agency model by enabling clients to pay for the services they need, and has carved a niche by targeting her service towards new businesses. Davidson achieves this through an incredibly lean business model. Working from home, she uses a network of freelancers which she can call on as and when she needs to, as well as taking advantage of free and low-cost tools such as Skype and social media to keep her cost base low. As a result, Startup PR is a scalable and profitable business, offering services aimed towards start-ups that are flexible and affordable.
Davidson has built a loyal client base, demonstrated by numerous glowing testimonials, and has secured TV and radio coverage on BBC Working Lunch, ITV Tonight and the Jonathan Ross Show, as well as articles in scores of trade publications and pretty much every national newspaper in the UK. She has also founded a successful networking event for women in her local area, called BLaH (Business Ladies around Harrogate).
Judges' comments: The judges were impressed by Ella Davidson's flexible approach to PR services for small businesses. Startup PR is an almost entirely virtual agency. Ella uses Skype to manage clients, and Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to promote her business, while a network of freelancers enables her to scale up or down as business dictates. Since launching in 2009, Ella has grown Startup PR into a profitable business and secured coverage in some of the UK’s foremost media titles.