A business audit can be one of the hardest tasks to tackle for new entrepreneurs. This was no different for social entrepreneur, Neha Mathew. Fortunately, Neha had access to the online learning platform, SimVenture Validate, which supported the business planning process for her startup, Haav.
In November 2022, the first ever SimVenture Validate #PostYourPitch competition was launched. The competition encouraged SimVenture Validate users to post their startup pitch to Facebook or Instagram for the chance to win a £100 gift card. The winner of the competition was London College of Fashion graduate and startup founder of Haav, Neha Mathew.
In this blog post, Neha shares her experience of using SimVenture Validate and how the startup ideas tool helped her to complete a business audit. You’ll also discover how Neha received multiple awards for her sustainable home decor business, along with her future entrepreneurial aspirations for Haav.
Introducing Neha Mathew and Haav
Meet social entrepreneur, educator, business coach, textile designer, and founder of Haav, Neha Mathew.
Neha Mathew studied MA in Fashion Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. She is also the founder of Haav – a home decor brand that creates unique up-cycled products in collaboration with disadvantaged women communities in London and India.
Neha explains, “My passion is to inspire curiosity and desire within people to make more conscious and ethical choices through Haav”.
The entrepreneur specialises in the ‘circular design’ field and currently works as the Changemaker at the London College of Fashion to co-design decolonial and inclusive educational practices.
Creating a business audit using SimVenture Validate
While studying at London College of Fashion, Neha used SimVenture Validate for three months in early 2022. By using the online learning platform, Neha was able to create a business audit and expand on her ideas for developing her business.
Neha explains, “I was able to find the key partners, key activities, key resources, value proposition, customer relationships, different channels, and customer segments. I was also able to find the cost, calculate the revenue, and find the sustainable developmental goals for my business idea”.
The platform’s helpful resources also provided insight and feedback so Neha was able to make informed decisions about her business plan and future strategies. As Neha said, “I was unable to answer some of the questions in my initial business audit but SimVenture Validate assisted me in improving my idea and I was able to identify these gaps.”
SimVenture Validate as a business audit solution
SimVenture Validate offers many features to help you think through and plan your business and project ideas. In particular, the Business Model Canvas section of SimVenture Validate offers useful case studies, resources, and step-by-step guidance.
As Neha explains, “[SimVenture Validate is] simple to use and is a fantastic resource for aspiring young entrepreneurs looking to test and validate their business ideas.
“I thought it was easy to use and the fact that there is already a framework in place with examples and case studies to support you is extremely beneficial.”
Whilst working on her business audit, Neha came to the conclusion that SimVenture Validate is an exceptionally helpful tool if you work on your business idea as an iterative process.
Neha said, “I believe it is extremely beneficial to work on it as a continuous project so that you can track your progress and continue to edit it until you achieve the desired result”.
The startup journey and life of an entrepreneur
The startup journey can be a bit of a rollercoaster ride, and Neha did not shy away from sharing the realities of entrepreneurial life with us.
As a reminder, Neha explains, “[Haav is] a sustainable home decor company that creates one-of-a-kind up-cycled products”.
In 2022, Haav received several awards, including second place in the London College of Fashion Enterprise Challenge, runner-up at the University of the Arts London Creative Enterprise Awards in the Social and Community category, and semi-finalist in the Mayor’s Entrepreneurship Competition.
While an entrepreneur’s journey can seem like an exciting adventure into the world of business, there is a lot of work that happens behind the scenes.
Neha explains, “Being an entrepreneur, especially when starting out, means you get to experience the different roles within the company, which helps you to grow as a person and learn new things. It can be a challenging and rewarding experience.
“I often wear many hats and perform a variety of roles within my company, including product development, sales and marketing, finance, and operations, among others. This can provide valuable learning opportunities.”
Starting a business can bring along a whirlwind of emotions, especially in the early stages according to Neha.
“In the early stages of my startup, I often had to take on many responsibilities and make critical decisions, which can be both exhilarating and challenging. Through this process, I was able to learn new skills, gain valuable experiences, and develop a deep understanding of my business and industry.
“Additionally, the process of starting and growing a successful business can bring a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction that can be incredibly rewarding.”
SimVenture Validate, Haav, and the future
Alongside the creation of her business audit, SimVenture Validate helped Neha through her startup journey in a number of additional ways.
Neha said, “In a virtual setting, I was able to test and validate my business idea. I was also able to experiment with various scenarios, assess the financial viability of my business idea, and make data-driven decisions to optimise business strategies by using SimVenture Validate.”
Following the support of the platform’s useful resources, Neha now looks to the future of what her business will achieve.
“Haav is still in its early stages. Our short term goals include funding, collaboration with more disadvantaged women communities, and product category expansion.
“I’m still waiting to do an official launch with a new website, so keep an eye out for that.”
If you would like to follow Haav’s journey, or learn more about the founder herself, you can check out her social media on Instagram and LinkedIn, and her work at the London College of Fashion showcase.
SimVenture Validate for aspiring entrenpreneurs
Having experienced SimVenture Validate as an entrepreneur herself, Neha Mathew has some tips and insights into how the online learning platform can help aspiring entrepreneurs and those looking to develop their business skills.
“It’s a fantastic tool that provides a safe and low-risk environment for testing and validating business ideas, reducing the likelihood of failure and increasing the chances of success. It’s definitely worth a shot for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to test and validate their business ideas.
“By using SimVenture Validate, you will be able to experiment with different scenarios, and validate your business idea in a safe environment. It provides you with insights and feedback that help you to make informed decisions about your business plans and strategies.”
Thank you to Neha Mathew for sharing your startup journey and online learning platform experience with us. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for Haav!
We hope this blog has helped and inspired you in your own entrepreneurship journey. We also hope that Neha’s tips and experience with SimVenture Validate has demonstrated the impact it can have within the real world of business.