A West Midlands entrepreneur is realising her dream and starting her own business thanks to help from the University of Staffordshire HE Full Circle project, which is supported by Stafford Borough Council.
Jane-Louise Green, from Little Haywood, spotted a gap in the market while working for the BBC as a new media producer.
She found it increasingly difficult to find affordable images to illustrate her work, instead only finding ones with huge price tags. Jane and her business partner Matt Perry decided to exploit the gap in the market to launch Picture Nation, a website which provides easily accessible and competitively priced royalty-free images.
The project has been a labour of love for both Jane and Matt over the past two years, who, until May this year have been developing the business in their spare time, which as working parents hasn’t been easy.
However, help from the HE Full Circle project in the form of a #1,000 bursary eased the burden.
The innovative HE Full Circle project is a five-year initiative funded by regional development agency Advantage West Midlands and led by Staffordshire University.
Picture Nation has also recently been awarded an Enterprise Fellowship Award from the University and will be based on the campus business park from this month.
The website will be operating in a similar field to Getty Images, which is currently the global leader of image providers, but whose prices and terms can be out of reach of many pockets.
Jane said: "If Getty is the Harrods of image providers, Picture Nation will be the Tesco’s equivalent."
She added: "Companies are always looking for images of everyday objects, either for websites or to use in advertising. We recognised that as technology develops people have access to better and better cameras and are taking really high-quality images.
"We decided to tap into this talent and create a service that is both easy to use and jargon free. Plus every photographer can monitor exactly how many times their photographs have been looked at and purchased and receive a percentage of the cost."
Tara Hollingsworth, inward investment officer for Stafford Borough Council, also said: "Jane and Matt's determination to launch Picture Nation is just one of the examples of great new businesses operating in Staffordshire. Projects such as HE Full provide much needed support and advice and it’s great to see it in action. "