Rising star: Mia Woodford

Mia Woodford set up online auction site Buy Once Give Twice with her friend Emma Leschallas, as a way for charities to raise money.

Now the duo are successfully growing the company and helping good causes.

Where did you get the idea?
During a fund raising event for a charity some people had purchased items that they didn’t want, but were happy for us to keep the money. So I asked if they would donate them back to raise even more money. The idea for the site took off from there.

How did you get the funding?
We’ve received investments from private individuals of around £300,000 and have put £200,000 of our own money into it by re-mortgaging our houses. We didn’t even try to get bank loans as we were launching at the start of the credit crunch.

How do you make money?
We take 15 per cent of the transaction. But as we market the items donated by targeting specific audiences, we can raise more money than if they were sold through eBay.

How do you market yourselves?
Because it would be easy for someone else to copy the model of the business, we’ve really concentrated on building a brand. We do a lot of blogging and have got a good presence in the press. we also do seminars and group talks.

Where next?
The business is too small at the moment. We need to grow it by getting more charities on board (we’ve only got 200 so far). Further down the line, we’ll also be looking for more funding rounds.

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