James’ original inspiration for SuperStars was sparked whilst he was volunteering in Uganda. He recognised that the children had large, unfilled interludes throughout their day so he set up sports and arts clubs to entertain and further develop them. From that experience he knew that developing children and giving them great educational experiences – self-esteem, confidence and leadership skills was the area he wanted to excel in.
On completing his degree he took a job as a sports coach developing children at LA Galaxy in America. Having gained some more practical experience, he returned to the UK with an idea for a child development company. The final catalyst was the growing concerns about children’s health and childhood obesity. James kept reading articles to do with problems about overweight children, a lack of sport in schools and the video game culture. But nobody seemed to be tackling the problem. He felt that too little was being done and so thought that he would do something about it. That was where SuperStars came from. James wanted to create an organisation that would help develop bright futures for thousands and eventually millions of children.
He had received an I.O.U for £1K from his parents for his 21st birthday to buy an air ticket to go travelling. Rather than purchasing the ticket though, James cashed in the I.O.U and used it to set up SuperStars, spending the £1K on sports equipment to get business moving. He then convinced a group of coaches to join him and the team went round schools offering their services free of charge. The feedback from children and staff was great but surviving with no income and nowhere to live was tough. James was faced with the huge challenge of setting up a business whilst living on friends’ sofas, using the library as an office and working every night as an unappreciated waiter.
However, SuperStars soon took off. James secured his first five contracts almost immediately and then doubled the number in a few weeks. James and SuperStars were soon recognised in a string of National Awards including being named as Shell Livewire Entrepreneur of the Year, HSBC Start-up Stars, and The Daily Mail’s Enterprising Young Brits. The most memorable though was being crowned the number one SME in the UK at the Natwest Startup Awards.
In the last decade from humble beginnings and just £1K of his own money, James has rapidly grown SuperStars into a business empire that now employs over 150 people and has a positive impact on over 60,000 children every week.