Growing Business - Octemo the Octopus
Octemo the Octopus is a toy for autistic children, uniquely
designed to support emotional education for children with autism and other such
Founder Sandika Dhawan initially developed the idea as a university project and started the groundwork for the business in June 2017.
“I’ve designed Octemo for a niche market” says Sandika “It’s customised for the child. In terms of toys for cognitive impairments, there is little out there in between pictures on a page and robots.”
She heard about Enterprise Steps whilst attending a Ravensbourne University focus group, and was keen to take part in the programme to help develop her ideas.
She has faced a number of challenges on her business journey so far, from developing her idea into a commercial business, to finding manufacturers and suppliers, and as is common with many start-ups, access to funding.
Her adviser initially recommended she consider crowdfunding and continue extensive networking to push the business on. This included finding willing volunteers to test the product. Sandika was also advised to buy the web domain name for Octemo and set up a dedicated website for the product.
Sandika got help on the Enterprise Steps programme in the form of mentoring, workshops and networking. However the single most important aspect of the programme has been meeting regularly with her mentor.
“Winning the Ravensbourne Marketplace prize, which
showed that people recognise the concept as a viable business idea has been a
“Having a mentor to meet with regularly to air my
thoughts and ideas has been extremely important and one of my best business
decisions so far.”
Her advice to other entrepreneurs?
“Find out the legal and other regulations in place for the industry you’re trying to break into, before making the business plan and writing up financials.”
the next steps with your business
Enterprise Steps has developed an innovative programme for London-based pre-start up, start-ups and established businesses to support them in growing to their full potential.
The Enterprise Steps programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).