George Ellis is a Director of Go Fly Your Kite. The business based in both counties Louth and Down is an innovative company delivering educational and creative workshops across Ireland and UK. George reveals, this was an idea from my business partner, Glenn Heasley’s four-year old son, Oliver, came up with the idea to draw on a kite. The idea for Go Fly Your Kite was born. The concept initially was based on art workshops where a participant could trace or design their own kite. This then developed into a series of STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) workshops linked to the Primary School curriculum. Working alongside agencies such as, Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) Science Foundation and many County Libraries we now deliver workshops to over 25,000 people a year. We promote positivity and a “can do” approach for every participant – child or adult. The workshops are much more than just a kite, its building self-esteem, social interaction, quality family time as well as harnessing artistic skills. It also promotes physical activity getting everyone outdoors. The workshops have therapeutic benefits to adults with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
You can visit the Go Fly Your Kite website here
What are your main priorities and goals in your role?
Engagement with a wide range of people delivering fun and educational experiences. What started as a part time activity has developed into a full-time business.
What are your biggest challenges?
We had planned that 2020 would be the year we would start to franchise Go Fly Your Kite. However due to the Covid19 pandemic the challenge was adapting the business to deliver our workshops online. We also had to increase our brand awareness online. Our kite production was greatly affected as they are produced exclusively for us in China. The pandemic put a serious impact on supply.
How has your business strategy been adapted in the context of the Covid-19 crisis?
We had to reinvent ourselves by running the business completely online. Franchise development has been put on hold until 2021. Increased focus online marketing.
What are the challenges facing your industry going forward?
Covid 19 will determine how quickly we can return to “in person” workshops. Ongoing changing government guidelines will determine the changes the business will face in the next 12 months.
What new trends are emerging in your industry?
More focus on hands on learning experience and enhanced family engagement. Our art workshops engage families in a fun environment and time spent afterwards being together and flying their kites. There is a big focus on children getting out of their bedroom away from technologies and engaging in activities such as ours to increase their self-esteem, well-being, social interaction and physical activity.
Are there any major changes you would like to see in your sector?
We would like to see increased funding for schools, libraries and community groups to allow as many to engage and have fun in a learning environment. Funding greatly affects the opportunities for greater reach.
Are you finding any skills gaps in the market?
No skills gaps for now.
How will Brexit affect you, or have you started to feel the effects already?
Brexit is an unknown quantity. Having bases in UK and ROI with unknown effects at this point.
How do you define success and what drives you to succeed?
The business idea is based around a job that enjoy. I am highly driven by the opportunity to deliver a fun and education activity to as many people as possible. What started off as a fun part-time interest has developed into a full-time business.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given, or would give, in business?
Sometimes when I find things just don’t seem to be happening it’s miraculous how something positive can happen.
What have been your highlights in business over the past year?
Go Fly Your Kite was awarded the coveted Business All Stars accreditation at a ceremony at Croke Park in December 2019. This is an independently verified standard mark for indigenous, businesses based on rigorous selection criteria. This award is an evaluation of the company’s background, trust worthiness and performance.
What’s next for your company?
Successfully survive Covid19 & Franchising 2021. Continually adapt our workshops and online presence.
What opportunities or plans for growth do you see in 2020/21?
We have put on hold plans to franchise the business until late 2021 when we hope to roll out franchise opportunities. We are always keen to develop corporate opportunities.
Where do you want your business/brand to be this time next year?
We are currently in talks with Invest NI at developing possible business opportunities in India.