“Planning and research are everything” – an interview with Joanne de Beer, Adopstar

Adopstar won the Tech South West Commitment to Diversity Award in 2023.

What does winning a Tech South West Award mean to your team?

If we had to answer that in one word, it means everything! It means that the hard work we have put into developing and sustaining a diverse team is helping to put Adopstar on the map. That, in turn, may allow us to help an even more diverse team of people to launch successful careers. It reiterates that we are doing something that we can be extremely proud of. 

What core values and principles have guided your team to where you are today?

Our quest to make a difference goes far beyond doing our very best for our clients. We want to make a difference in people’s lives and in communities. That’s why our award-winning apprenticeship programme is so important to us – it allows us to provide direction and channel ambition in people of all ages and from all walks of life. Our principle of wanting to be a harbinger of positive change has also seen us do everything we can to save the environment. We’re a virtually paperless company and we have electric cars that we use to go to meetings. We also want to make a difference in our team members’ lives and that’s why we give them the flexibility to work from home for up to 4.5 days every week.

Our core values are Live, Succeed, Learn and Belong. We believe that everyone (our team, our clients, our community) should live their best lives. We believe in working hard to achieve success and learning valuable lessons as we do so. Lastly, we believe that every member of our team belongs, no matter where they’ve come from, what they believe or how their mind works.

How do you foster a culture of creativity and innovation within your organisation?

The very diversity for which the Tech South West Awards has awarded Adopstar plays a big role in how we foster creativity and innovation. When you bring together a group of people from different backgrounds and ways of seeing the world, the ideas are bountiful! We are firm believers in the fact that you have to know the rules in order to bend the rules, and we enhance our creativity by staying on the cutting edge of our industry and all the new ideas emanating from around the world.

What advice would you give to aspiring tech entrepreneurs or startups aiming to make a significant impact in the industry?

It has been proven to us time and time again in the 13 years that we have been running Adopstar that planning and research are everything. Every tech startup needs to identify a genuine problem that they can solve and then develop a detailed business plan. Possibly the best advice we could give would be to surround yourself with a talented and diverse team – and we’ve found that the best (and most rewarding) way to do this is to hire apprentices and teach them everything they need to know on the job. That way, you fulfil your business’s unique needs and provide opportunities for people in your community to launch successful careers.

Finally – what makes the South West tech sector a great community to be part of?

We are passionate about everything tech and also about the great outdoors and opportunities to spend time in it. Being based in Devon and being part of the dynamic South West tech sector is therefore perfect for us. We’re surrounded by brilliant minds amid an ever-growing industry and we also have access to everything that our beautiful town of Cullompton and its surroundings have to offer!

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