Whilst the hope of an end to the pandemic continues to grow through the rollout of vaccines, it is likely that the far-reaching economic impacts will be felt around the world for years to come. Yet these challenges also offer opportunities for new businesses to bring life to hurting communities. Catalyst is partnering with Dave Morris to host a six-week course equipping aspiring entrepreneurs to make their dreams a reality. In this article, Dave sits down with Rich Bowpitt, from our Communications Team, to talk about his journey and heart for the course.
RB: Hi Dave, fantastic to get some time with you today; thanks for all you are doing to serve in this unique moment! Can you start by telling us a bit about yourself and your background?
DM: I am Dave Morris and I am an electronics engineer by trade, a church planter and a “serial entrepreneur”. I love people and I like starting and running businesses, making them grow and have life. It is the closest thing to a man being able to give birth that I know – filled with both joy and pain! I planted my first company, Cirris, some thirty years ago and it’s still going strong, others followed over the years including a church plant that I pastored for seven years… and that was harder than any business!
RB: You’ve got a real heart for helping aspiring entrepreneurs develop their business, and that really grew out of your own experiences – what challenges did you face getting started?
DM: One of the things that really challenged me when I started out (apart from breaking my back in a trampoline accident after resigning from my previous job!) was the loneliness of working on my own. I nearly went doo-lally! I ended up in the home office three days a week making 50 phone calls a day and two days visiting companies around the UK to get my people fix – having learnt very quickly that I definitely wasn’t an introvert! My biggest challenge at that point though was very physical: how to start a business lying flat on a floor for 6 weeks. I was encouraged by many prayers and by witty comments like “youth and enthusiasm are overcome by age and wisdom” so I was determined that enthusiasm would win as I was neither old or wise.
RB: So, you’re definitely someone with lots of experience of starting a new business in less-than-ideal circumstances – which is definitely true for anyone looking to become an entrepreneur at the moment! What did you learn about building a thriving business from that tricky start?
DM: The key I learnt was that understanding yourself, as well as listening to what trusted others around you tell you about yourself, will really help guide you. It may be painful – but it is necessary! Ultimately too, belief in our Father God who wants you to succeed as well as a belief that you “have what it takes” is a great way to build up resilience, which you will surely need. So, I want to encourage others in those areas too – I really enjoy people and helping them grow into all they can be.
RB: To create a really accessible environment for that kind of growth to happen, you’re starting a new course for aspiring entrepreneurs. What’s the vision behind it?
DM: I want this course to have real impact in these strange times; to see many people helped to start working for themselves and growing a business. Lydia – the “dealer in purple” – is a biblical role model and God knows we need more Christians running businesses that bless the communities around them than ever before. That’s what I’ve always sought to do, not to create something that just makes money for the sake of it, but something that does good and blesses the community.
RB: Fantastic! The course is a brilliant mix of key skills, practical guidance and personal interaction, all delivered in six punchy online sessions over six weeks. What sort of topics are you planning to cover within that?
DM: We’ll be looking at how to take your vision and make it a reality – identifying your existing skills and experiences and leveraging those to make the biggest impact, whilst at the same time being alert to the challenges you’ll face. For a breakdown of the full plan of what we’ll be covering in each of the six sessions, click here.
RB: Last but not least, when’s it starting, and how can people sign up or find out more?
DM: It’ll run weekly from 19th April for six weeks, from 7:30-8:30pm, all hosted online with time to work through the material and engage in an open Q&A. It’s free to join, though I’ll suggest you make a donation to the Catalyst Business Redevelopment Fund if you find it helpful, and you just need to click here and enter your details to sign up. I trust that this short course will bless anyone exploring starting a new business at this crucial time.