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Start Up Profile – Sponsor My Society –...

Start Up Profile – Sponsor My Society – Interview with Founder, Jack Culpan

What is Sponsor My Society?

Sponsor My Society is an online platform that connects university societies and sports clubs with businesses. Student committee members can sign up their student group and access sponsorship opportunities on the site, as well as uploading their key events to a collaborative calendar which is accessible by companies. What is unique about Sponsor My Society is that it allows societies and sports clubs to access affiliate opportunities – something rarely done in this sector. One area I’m focusing on is transforming these referral programs and presenting them in an affiliate form that can be used by societies to generate funds, which ultimately increases value for their members.

What inspired you to start this?

My position as Vice-President for Lancaster University Snowsports involved a lot of researching and emailing correspondents, often with little responses, on a quest for sponsorship and forming business relations. From this, I also realised that there wasn’t a straight forward method for businesses to interact and build relationships with student societies & sports clubs at scale. This was the fuel that motivated me to create Sponsor My Society, to help simplify and speed up the sponsorship process for societies allowing them to focus further on their members.

What makes SMS unique from your competitors?

Sponsor My Society is a new innovative platform that is unique in its offerings, separating it by far from its nearest competition. University societies and sports clubs can often be overlooked, however I and many others believe that students are the future, and these student groups need more 3rd party support. I’m hoping that as the platform grows, it will teach more businesses about the benefits of working with student groups, and ultimately will create a great amount of value for both parties.

What has the response towards SMS been like from students and university societies?

I’m very happy to say that the platform has had a great reception from university societies and sports clubs. Like myself, many of them realise a need for this and understand that it could really make a difference to the activities that they are able to do. Over the past few months, I’ve signed up over 150 societies and sports clubs across the UK from over 25 different universities. The response from student unions has also been outstanding, with some recommending Sponsor My Society to their student societies and sports clubs!

What has the response towards SMS been like from organisations who you would be targeting as sponsors?

I was very fortunate to have a small professional network before starting the venture from my past student related jobs. In collaboration with the companies I worked with I was able to transform their offerings in a way that meant student groups were able to work with the businesses whilst generating funding and value for both parties. Getting the platform in front of large corporate companies has been tough, however as the user base grows and more successful case studies are built I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to get more on board. Marketing and engagement through student societies is a method that is rarely used, and I believe that these groups can be far more influential than a single brand ambassador. Once I’m able to prove this at scale, I’m confident that Sponsor My Society will become a very interesting channel for many student related businesses.

What has been your biggest success so far?

My biggest success so far has been getting the idea for Sponsor My Society validated from over 150 clubs and societies that have signed up to the platform. With zero marketing budget, it’s great that so many have joined in the early stages and only increases my motivation to resourcefully build a platform to help them. I have also had a great response from university students’ unions across the UK. Many of them also believe that a platform like this is needed and that it will go on to help many of their societies and sports clubs.

Creating and working on this venture has been testing at times due to being in my 3rd year at university, and juggling it with coursework and exams has been a journey. Although hard work, it has helped me learn new skills and expand my knowledge, which is a great personal success.

What are the biggest challenges you have encountered on the pursuit of this endeavour thus far?

The hardest part of this pursuit so far is being such a new platform and having to build a reliable reputation amongst sports clubs, societies and businesses. I am hopeful that for many clubs and societies they will be able to relate to my past, being in the same position as them struggling to raise funds to put on new events. As well as this, building the connections with businesses can be difficult at times. Getting my foot in the door with large corporate companies has been challenging, however, as time goes on this will hopefully become easier. Working with SMEs is great and as I build partnerships with larger and larger companies, being able to create relationships with sizeable agencies and corporates should become more common.

How can people get involved with SMS?  

If you’d like to find out more information about Sponsor My Society, you can head to our website www.sponsormysociety.co.uk. If you’re a university club/society or a business looking to join the platform, you can sign up for an account and begin building relationships straight away. You can also contact me directly at Jack@sponsormysociety.com.

 


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