Omagh entrepreneur’s innovative idea made easy with the help of Sir Stelios
Go For It programme supports businessman to simplify house conveyancing service
An innovative Omagh businessman has realised his dream of starting his second business with the help of mentoring by the Go For It programme, through Fermanagh & Omagh District Council, and with the assistance of the businessman behind easyJet, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou.
The Go For It Programme is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth and Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) programme.
Connor McCann is an established businessman who set up OmaRentals in the early 2000s, becoming a leading property letting and management business. Last year, Connor set his sights on realising his ambition to set-up a second business complimenting his already successful property agency but had yet to come up with an idea.
During a family break over Easter weekend in 2017 with his wife and three boys, Connor had a lightbulb moment, with the idea of a business to simplify and speed up the legal process of buying and selling homes through an online conveyancing service. He considered creating a price-comparison website for solicitors and conveyancers to bid for the provision of this legal service which is essential for anyone buying or selling a property.
The same weekend, Connor discovered a social media post for an entrepreneurial competition run by the founder of easyJet Sir Stelios’s easyGroup. The competition closed in seven days as Connor got to work burning the midnight oil putting together his pitch, racing against the looming deadline.
Within days of submitting his entry, Connor received the news that the concept interested Sir Stelios, who invited him to London to a ‘dragon’s den’ style pitch only three days later. Again, Conor worked around the clock to flesh out his idea into a workable model to impress the panel. Clearly the work paid off as Connor found himself back in London, being announced as one of five successful winners of the competition, securing £10,000 and the licence to use the “easy” name.
easyConveyance.com was officially born. It is a comparison website for home buyers and sellers to compare quotes based on price, location and customer rating. Users of the service can also track progress of their sale or purchase.
Connor McCann, owner of easyConveyance.com said: “Once I spotted the pitching competition I knew I had to apply. It was an intense week of having to fully explore the idea and research the market and its potential in such a short space of time but it was all worth it in the end.
“After winning the competition, I was sent off to see what I could make of the idea. At that point, I contacted the council and got on the Go For It business startup programme. The advice, support and mentoring assistance provided through the programme has really helped support me as I run my two businesses side by side and family life in between.
“It’s a very digitally-focused business and most of the work and investment to date has been on getting the website right. We have over 200 solicitor and conveyancing firms registered with the site which uses the latest technology to deliver a transparent and accelerated conveyancing service. I am really delighted that it’s finally up and running and we’re already doing business. It’s a really exciting time.”
The Go For It Programme is delivered free of charge by a team of experienced business mentors through Northern Ireland’s wide network of enterprise agencies. It provides expert advice and help with developing a robust business plan to help turn ideas into a commercial enterprise.
Fermanagh and Omagh District Council spokesperson Kevin McShane said: “The Council has long recognised the vital contribution that small businesses make to our local economy and has recently developed a number of business support programmes part funded by the Council, Invest Northern Ireland and the ERDF Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme Northern Ireland 2016-2020.
“As part of the 11-Council Business Start Up Programme, this Council values the Go For It programme as a great vehicle to assist new businesses to set up and grow through free one-to-one business mentoring. We are delighted by Connor McCann’s innovative development of easyConveyance.com and his selection for the prestigious easy Start Up Entrepreneurs award presented by Sir Stelios himself.”
If you have a business idea you’d like to develop or if you are thinking about starting a business call 0800 027 0639 or visit www.goforitni.com