Entrepreneurs John Macleod, aged 23, and John Tetik 25, launched Post Runner - a leaflet and flyer distribution service based in Leeds, after noticing a gap in the market for such work to be carried out in a supervised, professional and motivated manner.
The pair, who both graduated from Leeds Metropolitan in 2010, had used leaflet distribution services previously in other businesses and were left disappointed with the results.
"We decided to speak to people who were doing this for a living and get their views about the job," said John Macleod. "The problem quickly became clear. Many people said they felt highly under-motivated and devalued due to poor wages, while some admitted to taking short cuts, delivering the leaflets or flyers late or at times not delivering them at all.
"As a result we decided there was a real opportunity for us to provide businesses with a unique and professional service they can rely on where the staff delivering leaflets and flyers on their behalf are smartly dressed in uniforms and are happy in their work."
The friends launched Post Runner via Leeds Metropolitan's business start-up scheme based at the QU2 Business Centre at the university's city centre campus.
John Tetik, who studied BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance at Leeds Met, explained: "We employ young motivated people at Post Runner and our community aims are at the heart of everything we do. We help the disadvantaged and young unemployed get back into the workplace, learning skills and attributes to forge a long-term career. Plus we pay them decent wages to ensure they remain motivated and know that they are valued members of the Post Runner business."
In addition, John Macleod has another business venture under his belt - Lux Creations. The design company, which John set up with his dad after graduating, was also launched via QU2 at the University, and already has a portfolio of two innovative products.
The first product - Clear Notes, which are transparent and re-usable sticky notes that allow the user to view any document below the note whilst making annotations, was launched last month at London's annual Stationery Show,
"I came up with the idea when I worked for an insurance firm in 2010," said John, who graduated from Leeds Met with a BSc (Hons) degree in Sports Coaching. "I'd regularly find myself dealing with a lot of documents and it was tricky trying to make notes without actually writing on the papers. That's when I realised there was a simple solution to the problem and the idea for Clear Notes was born. The best thing about the product is their versatility and the fact that they can be used again and again. We have developed the product in a number of sizes as well with our own marker pen to use which can be wiped off the Clear Notes easily."
The second product at Lux Creations is a Travel Alert iPhone app which gives the user traffic alerts and has an inbuilt alarm system to wake you up earlier in the morning if your chosen travel route is experiencing traffic delays.
"The business start-up programme supported by Leeds Metropolitan has really helped me both financially and strategically from the word go with both Post Runner and Lux Creations," said John Macleod. "With their support we have been able to take ideas and turn them into successful businesses that offer a professional service and marketable and exciting products."
Over the past ten years, Leeds Metropolitan University has supported the start-up and growth of over 600 businesses, creating over 1300 jobs in the region with a collective turnover of more than £42 million.
The University offers two business support services: Business Start-Up which supports students and graduates of Leeds Metropolitan who want to become self-employed or start up in business; and QU2 (Queen Square Business Quarter), which offers business support and office space to any business in the region, particularly suiting start-up and early stage businesses with limited budgets.
QU2 and Business Start-Up both provide training and advice on the main aspects of starting and growing a small business including: sales, marketing, legal concerns, accountancy and finance, online marketing and human resources. Clients can also access one-to-one advice from in-house business advisors.
The QU2 business incubation service, which currently houses 80 businesses, also offers virtual office space, consisting of a business address and use of hotdesks and meeting rooms.