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James Pope, IoD 99 member

James Pope

Founder, Fanto

“The IoD 99 network has helped me scale up in three ways; credibility, inspiration and networking.”



What was the main challenge you experienced as a start-up before joining the IoD 99 community?

"My main challenge was finding a mentor! As much as running a start-up is about the level of belief and confidence you can foster in yourself, we should all stand on the shoulder of giants where we can. I was fortunate that my mentor brought me to the IoD with a referral. My hardest challenge was facing up to the fact that my idea needed to be a business and not just a concept. My mentor was crucial in that journey."

What have you found as a result of being an IoD 99 member?

"My first experience of the IoD was employing my first employee and reaching out for assistance via the helpline. I was guided on the essentials of starting up a business."

How long have you been a member of the IoD 99 network?

"I’ve been part of the IoD 99 for nearly a year. I remember when I signed up, thinking it was beyond my reach and only applying as I have a natural instinct to barter. When speaking to the membership team, I set myself a ceiling of not paying over a certain price. I was taken by surprise, so much so that I was lost for words, when I realised that the 99 membership was below my ceiling! I had to chuckle because I couldn’t even bring myself to barter as the offer was that good!"

What is your favourite thing about being part of the IoD 99 community?

"My favourite thing is having access to relevant business information (regular circulation and active forums), support for various business requirements and the sense of pride you get that comes with being a member at such an established, respected and prominent organisation."


“The credibility I gain from holding meetings with incoming investors at IoD premises has really helped create a positive view of my business.”


What are three other benefits you’ve enjoyed as a result of being an IoD 99 member?

"The three other benefits I’ve enjoyed are the facilities, professional development and information. Being able to hold meetings in such a professional location adds significant credibility to my business. The Regular networking events allow constant evolution of my business skills and with the IoD being at the forefront of relationships with significant national and international enterprise stakeholders, I’m always informed."

How has being a part of the IoD 99 network helped you scale up your start-up?

"The IoD 99 network has helped me scale up in three ways; credibility, inspiration and networking. The credibility I gain from holding meetings with incoming investors at IoD premises has really helped create a positive view of my business. I’ve been inspired after seeing, hearing and speaking to many business ventures which remind you exactly why you’re doing what you’re doing. Last but definitely not least, I’ve developed many new skills and business practices through networking that I wasn’t even aware of before joining."


“Being part of the inclusive IoD 99 community brings a wide range of benefits that help you improve and develop.”


How has the IoD changed for the better?

"The IoD is now much more technologically driven."

What does being an entrepreneur mean to you?

"I could write a 10,000 word dissertation on this however in the pursuit of brevity, I’ll say freedom, identity and contentment."

"Despite founding a 24/7 enterprise, I’ve never felt freer. I’m in control of my own destiny and can conduct myself however I see fit. I no longer have to conform to other people’s expectations as being an entrepreneur allows me to pursue creativity in my own unique way. I’m dyslexic and often find that people struggle to understand how my brain processes information which in the past has caused tension. As an entrepreneur, I can be myself without fear of prejudice and not doing things like the rest of the herd."

"If you read any work by political theorist Hannah Ardent, you’ll know that everyone needs an identity. I agree with a lot of her work and believe that being an entrepreneur gives me my identity. Whilst forming this identity I’ve had to do a lot of soul searching. After a year into my new lifestyle as an ‘entrepreneur’ I found myself having to make a lot of adaptions to a life which was previous funded by a career in the city. However along my start-up journey I’ve developed a much clearer view of where I’d like my life to go and what values I’d like to live by. Being an entrepreneur has given me the freedom to discover this."

"If you read any work by political theorist Hannah Ardent, you’ll know that everyone needs an identity. I agree with a lot of her work and believe that being an entrepreneur gives me my identity. Whilst forming this identity I’ve had to do a lot of soul searching. After a year into my new lifestyle as an ‘entrepreneur’ I found myself having to make a lot of adaptions to a life which was previous funded by a career in the city. However along my start-up journey I’ve developed a much clearer view of where I’d like my life to go and what values I’d like to live by. Being an entrepreneur has given me the freedom to discover this."

What would you say to anyone considering becoming an IoD 99 member and would you recommend it?

"I would highly recommend the IoD 99 network – in fact I would insist upon it. As a start-up the range of emotions is like nothing I’ve experienced before. Being part of the inclusive IoD 99 community brings a wide range of benefits that help you improve and develop."

If you could give one piece of advice to fellow entrepreneurs, what would it be and why?

“Believe in yourself, ignore the knockbacks and remember that success isn’t always guaranteed. Never lose sight of how you define success. Being an entrepreneur is as much about creating a way of living as it is about finding the next Facebook and becoming a billionaire. Enjoy it – I struggle to find any entrepreneur who doesn’t love what they’re doing."