Norwich entrepreneur’s business idea born from grief
For Norwich entrepreneur Jonathan Chapman it was the death of a close friend that set in motion a new business venture which he hopes will become a global brand.
The 31-year-old co-promoter of Elite League speedway club King's Lynn Stars and operations manager at the family-owned King's Lynn Town FC tonight launches a new website, One Certainty, which is expected to go live in the next few days – which will allow people to create a digital scrapbook of their life, videos and even detail what they want at their funeral.
Mr Chapman and 12 shareholders have invested around �500,000 in the new venture which will be run from Norwich. It was when Mr Chapman's close friend Joanne Banbury, from Essex, died in November 2009 that he was inspired to start the business.
'Her son Tai was only one year old when Joanne was diagnosed with lung cancer and given six months to live,' he said. 'A support group had recommended that she should leave Tai lots of memories for him to remember his mum by as he grew up.
'So before Jo passed away she collected lots of photos and wrote some letters and placed them in a shoebox, she had also wanted to record some video messages, but unfortunately this proved a little bit too difficult for her. Joanne's funeral was a joyful experience and felt like a celebration of her life rather than the sad affair I had come to expect most funerals to be. It was clear to see that Joanne had played a role in helping put the plans of her funeral in place before she passed away.'
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Mr Chapman said his business also had affiliations with charities Marie Curie and Afghan Heroes.
Norwich company Selesti has done all of the website work and Mr Chapman said he had been delighted to use only Norfolk companies for the venture.
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'There's no point in doing it on a shoestring. From day one it has got to be set up properly to be a global company,' he said.
'It is not often that you think of an idea that is needed. At the end of the day there are seven billion people in the world and unfortunately we all die in the end. People need somewhere to leave their memories and their wishes securely. The potential is huge.'