OCTOBER MEMBER OF THE MONTH: DAVID ODDERALL

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It’s October, it’s Autumn, Friday the 13th is this month and Halloween is fast approaching. Most importantly though for us here at Launch 22 we’re celebrating our member of the month! This month we’re excited to shout about our member David Ollerhead from the cyber security consultancyDigitalXRAID (DXR). I sat down with David this week over a cup of coffee at our Liverpool office space and asked him some questions about his involvement with DXR and his experience while at Launch 22.

I started by asking David about how he got involved with DXR. David says that in his previous position he was involved in a professional manor with DXR and that “they liked the way in which I dealt with them, and asked me to join so eventually this year David joined the company as their Business Development Manager.

I then went on to pick at David’s brain about what it is DXR offer clients.Prior to meeting David, I had visited DXR’s website and came across phrases like ‘social engineering’ and ‘penetration testing’. ‘Social engineering’ had reminded me of a YouTube I had watched about hacking one late night, but that was the extent of my knowledge on the matter so I was eager to listen to what David had to say.

We started by discussing social media. The concept that social is media is a part of a lot our lives and that we need to be conscious about what we’re posting is nothing new for most. We know that it’s probably not a good idea to take a photo of the outside of our house, street name and address in full view and then caption it ‘we’re all going on holiday for two weeks!’ — a scary concept and not a good idea. However, if you imagine the house was a multi-million-pound company and instead of someone breaking in and stealing your television it was hackers gaining access to the companies accounts or client information, the odds then get significantly higher!

What attackers can do utilising social engineering is to use social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to build profiles on their targeted company’s employees. What this means is that an IT technicians page on LinkedIn can give information on software that they are a specialist in, this then can help hackers in deducing what types of software the company utilises. Furthermore, an attacker can target and build a profile on a particular employee of a company in a department they would like to access.

“For example, a hacker may target the accounts department of a company, and has identified through social engineering that “Dorris” in accounts enjoys her shoe shopping from a particular retailer. If a legitimate looking email is created and sent to Dorris offering 50% off her next purchase and she follows the link enclosed…boom goes the dynamite. Clicking on the malicious link would instantly infect / compromise the company’s entire system with Ransomware or remotely executable code.”

I get the feeling I’ve only reached the tip of the cyber-security-iceberg, but from what I can surmise DXR simulate methods that ‘the bad guys’ use to infiltrate a company’s systems, providing client’s with a thorough risk assessment of their current security posture. From there DXR advise on how to mitigate and remediate the risks / vulnerabilities identified.

David then went on to explain another extreme engagement they can provide called Red Teaming. DXR will send an employee to a company’s offices to attempt to gain access to the building, furthermore a company’s IT assets / server room / an employees workstation. I got this very excited about the method as to me it sounded like real-life spy work.

I then move on to ask David about his time at Launch 22 and his feelings about working in a cooperative office environment. David tells me that it’s great to be around driven people in an amazing environment with everyone working towards their goals day to day. David goes on to cite a benefit of working in a cooperative environment being that the discussions you have with people can be very informative for both parties.

There’s people in the creative / technology industries here and it’s great to make them think twice about the way they’re designing systems”.

Wrapping up our discussion I ask David if DXR has reached any milestones while being part of Launch 22. David informs me that they have recently gained a large client in the North West of England, after only eight days of DXR trading out of Liverpool, I may add! To finish our discussion David tells me that they’re currently planning an event for next month. The event will invite businesses along for free to raise some data protection issues (GDPR) — particular thanks to Alex Clark from Professional Liverpool network for their help organising so far.

by Bradley Welch Harley

SEPTEMBER MEMBER OF THE MONTH: DJIMA LONDON

Summer has come and gone and it’s time for our newest Member of the Month! Introducing Bismark Djima, who tells us all about his passion for shoes and his upcoming launch event for his line, Djima London.

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Hey Bismark! Thanks for letting me interview you today. If you could just start off by telling us a little about yourself.

I’m the founder of Djima London, which is a shoe brand that specialises in men’s loafers. As you can already guess, I’m very passionate about shoes, and that’s how I got started. I always used to be asked, and still do, where I got my shoes from and always received compliments on them. I have a very specific style, and people seemed to like it, so I thought to myself, why not create my own designs and my own brand.

I hear you’re launching soon, can you tell me about what you have planned?

Yes! I’m very excited about it, I’ve been working so hard to make sure it’s going to be as perfect as possible. There will be a lot of entertainment, even a fashion show with a red carpet catwalk. There’s also going to be giveaway competitions, and of course, I’m going to reveal all my designs. It’s definitely going to be an amazing night, so be sure to come it! It’s on the 22nd of September at 7 pm here at Launch22.

Sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun. So what is your experience here at Launch22 and being on the scholarship programme?

My time here at Launch22 has been really great, and it’s really helped me a lot. I started off working from home, but it was terrible, I couldn’t stay concentrated and was less productive. So I came to work in Launch22, an organisation that helps guide you and allows your business to grow. One of the key things that helped me specifically is the Launch22 events. It’s a great place for networking and meeting different people in the business sector. As a result, I’ve built up so many contacts that have all helped me in different ways, and in turn who I’ve shared my ideas with.

Further to this, Launch22 also has mentors who are experts and knowledgeable in different areas so you can always find someone to answer a question you have.  For example, marketing was really important to me so I spoke to Neil Donald, a mentor here, and the guidance has been invaluable.

I would like to say thank you to Georgina, the community manager here at Launch, she’s been the best support and she is always ready to lend a hand and do whatever she can to solve something for me.

So if you’re looking for somewhere to start your business, or to give your start-up a home, Launch22 is perfect for you.

Launch22 is such a great place, you immediately feel comfortable and there are not many working spaces like that. What are you planning to do after your launch event?

Well, I’ve been getting a lot of women asking me where my female line is, so my next step would be to launch that. I’m planning to do some samples and some researching about creating female versions of the loafers I have. Following that, I’m hopefully going to expand my brand into clothing as well, such as suits and shirts etc. Those are my next two plans, there’s a lot of work I have to do to get there though, but I have so many ideas.

I’m sure you’ll reach all your goals Bismark, you’re very dedicated. Have you had any struggles or made any mistakes you’ve learned from in your path to creating your own line?

I’ve definitely had a few troubles, for example, I made the mistake of using the wrong material when I was designing my shoes. I had to go away and look more into it, research as much as possible in order to find the right tools I needed to create my vision. There’s a lot of small details you can trip over, and I’ve learnt a lot about creating and manufacturing.

Okay, last question! What advice would you give to someone who is looking to create their own line?

If it’s your passion and your dream, and you’ve been thinking about it for a while, my advice would be to get started as soon as you can. I personally had the idea in my head for a long while before I actually pursued it and I wish I had started a lot earlier

You will face some struggles and some obstacles, but there are no boundaries to what you can do, so just go for it. It’s an indescribable feeling when you get that first sale of your service, it motivates you to do more because there’s nothing that compares to that. Also, when you do start, there is a lot of support and guidance available to you, so you won’t be alone in your pursuit. The Sky is the limit.

 

Follow Djima London on Instagram: djimalondon

Want to find out more about Launch22? Email us at: liverpool@launch22.co.uk

By Roda Musa

EVENTS: HOST YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS

EVENTS: HOST YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS

So you’ve started your business and everything is going well, so you decide it’s time to host your first event.

Here at Launch22 we know how important events are to our members, whether it’s to raise their profile or simply a way of bringing everyone together.

There are a number of ways that hosting an event can benefit you personally, and of course, your business.

60 Seconds With...

Our latest ‘60 Seconds With’ feature showcases our very own Mentor, Pauline Moran! After discovering she was dyslexic on her return to University as a mature student, Pauline has dedicated herself to facilitating fellow dyslexic and right-brained dominant creatives in the world of entrepreneurship using a variety of approaches. Read about her story and what makes her tick below!

7 Top Reasons Why Our Members Love Launch22

7 Top Reasons Why Our Members Love Launch22

1) Inspiring Environment
The layout of the hub inspires everyone who comes in. I love the open plan working area, huge windows and chill out area.” — Ray Carr, Terrapin Global Shipping Recruitment
Our space, with its large central desk structure and breakout areas, plays a huge role in creating a collaborative environment. Our members particularly enjoy the ability to take a break and play ping-pong or table football which helps develop the sense of community...