Thu, 1 September 2011
Simone is a young spirited entrepreneur who was inspired by children. She is the brains behind Flickaphonics, a hands-on independent tool that can improve literacy.
Simone Russell (23) is a spirited young entrepreneur inspired by children.
She is the brains behind Flickaphonics, a hands-on independent tool designed to help improve literacy. The tool is the first of its kind; it can independently help someone to learn to write, using a moving visual, without the need for any technology or assistance from a teacher.
Growing up in a small town in the Scottish borders, Simone was always passionate about art. She attended high school in Peebles, and during her 6th year, went to Telford College in Edinburgh to develop her art portfolio before being accepted into Grays School of Art in Aberdeen. At Grays, Simone thrived, studying Animation, Illustration and Photography, and specialising in Visual Communications.
Simone was accepted onto the BP Student Tutoring Scheme, which involved her being placed formally into both primary and secondary schools to work with children, under the direct supervision of teachers within these schools. It was during this time that Simone experienced first-hand the ways in which children learn and was shown the most effective methods of teaching children. This is when the initial idea for Flickaphonics was born.
Inspired by the Curriculum for Excellence Simone wanted to help children to learn in an interactive, multi-sensory and visual way. From Simone’s personal observations when working with children, she found that children really enjoy learning in this way. She also wanted to design a product that could help with a teacher’s workload.
Simone received one-to-one assistance from Dawn Shand, one of SIE’s team of dedicated Regional Business Advisors. She also took part in SIE’s Summer Bootcamp ’11, an intensive course that condenses months of experiential learning into only a few days.
Bootcamp allowed her to gain the valuable skills required to help develop her Flickaphonics product. More importantly it gave her confidence and self-belief, essentials for any budding entrepreneur. Simone continued to work on her idea, and entered the 2011-12 SIE New Ventures Competition (NVC).
She went on to win the product design category and received a cash prize to help take her Flickaphonics product forward. Simone feels that working with SIE allowed her to realise that her idea had the potential to be a successful business.
The future is looking bright for Simone. She wants to continue developing her product so that it can be introduced into Scottish schools, and then to expand across the UK and beyond. Ultimately, her goal is to introduce Flickaphonics into schools in the developing world which she hopes to achieve by partnering with a charity.
Simone believes that because Flickaphonics does not require any teacher involvement, software or any other form of technology, it could be an effective way of improving literacy in the developing world.
Reflecting on her success, Simone wants to encourage young entrepreneurs of the future to pursue their idea. She understands that it may be hard, but thinks that it is worth it.