By Deborah Todd, CEO of ZAAZEE
As a start-up in 2014, ZAAZEE was part-funded by a Virgin Business Loan. In fact, we were voted Virgin Start Up of the Week when we launched which was just fantastic.
People like Richard Branson have always inspired and impressed me - he's renowned for breaking the rules and doesn't follow anyone's lead. I quit my job in PR and comms to launch ZAAZEE, because I am so passionate about inspiring women to be the best versions of themselves.
Groundbreaking entrepreneurs like Richard Branson, Michelle Mone and Karren Brady are definitely my role models. They're cool - and I wanted ZAAZEE to be cool, too!
Recently, I was invited to Virgin HQ in London for a Christmas party bash for a selected number of businesses, and (me being me!) I jokily asked them where the big boss was! I was told that he was at Necker Island, so I left a pair of our boxing wraps for him to sign and didn't give it another thought.
To my absolute amazement, my cheekiness must have paid off for once, as I got a call from Virgin last week to say that Richard was coming to Manchester and he'd like to meet me! What a fabulous opportunity for ZAAZEE!
After 12 months as a Virgin Start Up, it was pretty thrilling to meet the big guy himself.
I met Richard at the Virgin Money Lounge in Manchester, and we had a great chat. Richard was hugely engaging and asked about ZAAZEE and my passion for sport. He's a huge tennis fan, and so am I, so we had some common ground. He told me all about Virgin Sport, his new company that gives sporting events and initiatives a touch of Virgin magic.
I told him about ZAAZEE's plans for 2016, and we even discussed being working parents - Richard is actually a grandad (or "grand-dude" as he calls it!) and it was fun to chat about the challenges it brings to balance family and work life.
Meeting Richard has made me even more optimistic and excited for the year ahead and what it will bring for ZAAZEE.
Watch this space in 2016 to see what we have planned next...
See the story and find out more about becoming a Virgin Start-Up here:
Have a fabulous Christmas and New Year.