Happy Birthday Slingshot: Tips & reflections on starting a sponsorship agency 14th June, 2011

We’ve just had our first birthday – a very big moment for us all!

While waiting for our bottles of champagne to arrive on the table at our birthday party celebration, I thought about the past year and what I could have done better/differently through Year 1.  We’ve had many successes – our most recent being shortlisted for four awards at the upcoming Corporate Engagement Awards as well as a few hiccups, but all in all it’s been such a fantastic year and I can’t wait to start the next one.

Throughout the year, I am constantly asked how I made the leap and so I thought I’d jot down some of my own tips/experiences as a birthday gift to all those thinking about starting up a sponsorship agency (or any service based business for that matter).

  • TIP 1: Understand your agency’s value proposition

Without a full understanding of what your business does, it’s going to be next to impossible to explain, let alone convince others to buy into your service.  Clearly identifying what it is you do, who you’d like to work with, and knowing what you can’t/won’t do is incredibly important.  Do your research and find out what else is out there and what your competitive edge is.  And then, as a good friend and someone I regularly go to for business advice said, “Make sure you can explain all this in an elevator between the ground floor and the arriving on the first floor or else forget it.”

Our value proposition in plain English: We build/create things to make money.

More eloquently put, Slingshot identifies opportunities in businesses that new revenue streams such as sponsorship can be developed without having to change the direction or core focus of the business.  This creates partnerships and helps generate revenue for activity that is already being resourced.  It also opens up new audiences for your business to reach.

  • TIP 2: Use a cash flow

The number one failing of a business is not having enough cash flow.  Not only understanding how to put one together, but also using it to identify how to develop and grow your business moving forward.

With an educational background in finance, I thought I understood this fairly well, but a textbook understanding of cash flow and how it actually relates to your business turn out to be very different concepts when put into practice.  I’d highly recommend speaking to someone who has done it before and get them to help you tailor your cash flow to reflect your business objectives.

  • TIP 3: Shout about what makes you unique

If you are considering starting out on your own, I am assuming you already know what will make you different than your competitors.  If you don’t know, then it might be worth reconsidering whether or not you should be going it alone.
When you do know what you do better than the next guy, make sure to tell everyone you know.  This can be through your website, word of mouth, articles, profiles, credentials, your company blog and actively using social media such as Twitter.  Your unique selling point won’t ensure you’ll land every client that comes along, but it will help you get your foot in the door.

  • TIP 4: Outsource

Working until the wee hours of every night for the past year has not been my idea of fun, but I did anticipate it and assumed it was part of starting your own business.  However it did takes its toll, especially on tasks that I wasn’t particularly good at – such as invoicing and filing.  I finally made the decision to outsource some of our non-core activities and it has made a world of difference – allowing me to work on what I do best – being creative and building relationships between brands.

  • TIP 5: Love what you do

It is not always easy working in sponsorship and there can be a lot of rejection – both from prospective clients as well as prospective sponsors for projects you are involved with.  If you don’t love what you do, then you won’t make it past the long hours and what seems like an extraordinary amount of copywriting that I never knew existed (website, blog, articles, emails…) to find yourself sitting in the VIP room at the Hammersmith Apollo realising that you helped build this.  And hopefully in a month’s time admiring those first few awards in our office’s reception!

Make sure to keep track of our progress in Year 2, by signing up to our weekly eNewsletter & Facebook page.

UK AWARE Partners with Climate Week 10th December, 2010

>UK AWARE will be aligning Britain’s largest sustainable lifestyle exhibition with Climate Week. The new dates of the exhibition will now be Friday 25th March and Saturday 26th March 2011. 

Climate Week is a new national occasion taking place from 21 – 27 March 2011. Thousands of businesses, charities, schools, councils and many others will run events showcasing the practical solutions to climate change, encouraging thousands more to act during the rest of the year. UK AWARE will be one of main highlights of the week, and one of the largest events taking place, providing a unique opportunity for the general public to come and discover some of the easy sustainable alternatives available for a modern lifestyle. 

UK AWARE and Climate Week share the same vision of providing a platform for ideas, demonstrating and inspiring small steps that individuals can take towards a low carbon, low impact lifestyle. Both will act as a catalyst for more people to discover, learn and create a positive impact on a personal, community and society basis. 

From political leaders to well known celebrities, Climate Week has already galvanised a huge number of famous individuals, with names as diverse as  David Cameron, Kofi Annan, Lily Cole and Sienna Miller all backing the campaign. There is support from a huge number of national and regional organisations, representing over 6 million individuals, who are all being asked to take part in a concentrated week of positive action and awareness. It is easy to see that there is a huge amount of support already behind the initiative, and UK AWARE are proud to be both a key supporter and a major feature of the week. 

UK AWARE dispels some of the myths around living a green lifestyle, while answering many of the public’s questions and creating positive messages on sustainable living. 

Danny Carnegie, UK AWARE Director said: “As a unique social enterprise, UK AWARE has been doing great work for over four years. It is very exciting to be working with Climate Week as they are a wonderful organisation and I believe that strong partnerships are key to results. According to Continental/KNOTS research, 77% of British still feel guilty about not doing enough environmentally friendly activities. Together UK AWARE and Climate Week offer realistic and accessible solutions.

Kevin Steele, Climate Week’s Chief Executive said: “We are delighted that UK AWARE is now taking place during Climate Week. It provides a superb example of the sorts of inspirational actions and positive solutions that are taking place throughout the nation, showing how everyone can do their bit to combat climate change. It should prove to be a real highlight of the week.

Notes to Editors


UK AWARE is the brainchild of brothers Danny, (a fire-fighter) and Jodie (a teacher) Carnegie who were so baffled about how to make positive changes in their day to day lives to help tackle climate change, they decided to take action to bring green business and consumers face to face.

For further press information, ticket offers or press access contact Philippa Cox on 0207 091 7214 or email [email protected].

UK AWARE Announces Sponsorship Opportunities 20th October, 2010

UK AWARE, the UK’s only green and ethical lifestyle exhibition, releases sponsorship opportunities to brands.  Leading brands looking for a platform to communicate their current sustainability programmes now have the opportunity to partner with this grass roots social enterprise to deliver something truly exceptional.

With significant exposure both locally and nationally, UK AWARE will help sponsorsposition themselves effectively against other brands who are just ‘whitewashing’ green credentials.

Through a two day exhibition held on the 1st & 2nd of April 2011, with over 15,000+ sustainable advocates in attendance and business networking events held throughout the year, sponsors of UK AWARE have the ability to communicate to both the consumer and business market.  They also are able to help their current and prospective customers live a more sustainable lifestyle by providing them with practical tips and products through partnership with UK AWARE.

Danny Carnegie, co-founder of UK AWARE comments, “UK AWARE is a social enterprise with three main purposes. The first goal is to deliver events that simplify the environmental message for consumers.  There is simply too much confusion in the market and while most people want to be green they are not clear what they should or should not be doing. The second goal is to provide a platform from which green businesses can reach consumers and offer their products and services in a face-to-face environment. And thirdly we want to offer larger companies that are not exclusively green the opportunity to support start ups in the sector through sponsorship, investment and guidance.”

Previous exhibitors of UK AWARE have included Transport for London, Fiat, Zipcar, ActionAid, RSPB, BT, and hundreds more businesses hoping to make a significant impact on the environment in a meaningful way.

Slingshot Sponsorship have been assigned as the exclusive sponsorship agency working with this fantastic opportunity.  New sponsorship rights have been developed in order to effectively leverage this platform for UK AWARE sponsor brands in 2011 providing a new and unique opportunity to reach the sustainable consumer and business market.

If you are interested in finding out more information on being involved with UK AWARE as a sponsor or an exhibitor, please contact Jackie Fast, e: [email protected]

For more information, please visit www.ukaware.com or follow UK AWARE on Twitter @UKAWARE