Ryan Willis: 'I've had a lot of really useful advice and guidance from StartUp UK.'

Ryan Willis: 'I've had a lot of really useful advice and guidance from StartUp UK.'

Posted: Thu 11th May 2023

StartUp UK is Enterprise Nation's scheme to provide free tailored support to budding entrepreneurs.

Backed by the UK government and Monzo Business, the programme delivers initiatives such as e-learning, online training, national events and flagship annual conferences throughout the UK.

As the scheme continues to run, we're talking to some of the business owners who have been taking part, to hear how it's benefited them so far.

Here, we talk to Ryan Willis, whose business Openworld Quests has created a walking puzzle game through the heart of York, designed to make the city accessible and more appealing to a wide audience.

How did you come up with your business idea?

I played a pen-and-paper scavenger hunt game. It was enjoyable but fiddly and difficult to keep track of which questions had been completed.

I thought it would benefit from an upgrade, and would work so much better as an interactive app which can present the riddles and then get out of the way. Read each question and then the phone can go back in your pocket, letting you engage with your friends and family, and explore the beauty of your surroundings.


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What makes your business unique?

Openworld Quests provides a unique experience to York. It's like an outdoor escape room crossed with a scavenger hunt. The first puzzle game of its kind!

You've taken part in Enterprise Nation's StartUp UK programme. What were your reasons for doing it?

I'm hoping to learn from business mentors and ultimately scale my business into something that can support itself and me moving forward. I want to make the Quest games as good as they can be, and to make more of them.

How has the StartUp UK programme benefited you and your business so far?

I've had a lot of really useful advice and guidance as a result of being involved in the StartUp UK programme.

Added to that, I've also been very generously awarded a £1,000 grant, which has helped with a range of things, from getting insurance to promoting the business more widely.

What's the best advice you've received from taking part in StartUp UK?

Make a habit of scoping out to check that your direction of travel is effective, and then just keep taking the next step, no matter how small.

Do you have any business advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs?

Don't be overwhelmed by the enormity of your ambition or the length of the road you're walking – just keep taking the next step in front of you. If that step feels too big, break it up and take a few smaller ones!

Finally, what are your plans for the future?

In future, there will be more quest games with different themes and routes, and more features to the Quest app – optional graphics and sound effects to accompany the stories and riddles.

There will also be links leading off to more information about any given area or story, and more connections with local businesses, which will offer free samples to quest players as part of the game.


StartUp UK: Turn your good idea into a great business

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Visit the StartUp UK hub for resources that give you the education and inspiration to get started on your entrepreneurial journey.

Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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