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Spotlight on TEC Women: Georgie Harrison, tech entrepreneur

Georgie is a co-founder of Roamey, an online platform and app for discovering new experiences. She tells us how a degree in Fine Art led her to start a tech business – and why art and technology aren’t as different as you might think.

Georgie Harrison, co-founder of Roamey

A lifelong passion for art

When I was younger I wanted to be a ballerina and an artist. When I went shopping with my Mum I would only choose dresses that would float and swirl around my body like an ultra-light hula-hoop!

I would spend my spare time dressing up dolls, painting pictures, pretending to run my own café, and making up daily plays that my parents HAD to watch (sorry, Mum and Dad!!)

So when it was time to go to university, I chose to study Fine Art. But while I arrived there as a traditional artist, something else soon took over...

From art to entrepreneurship

My Mum and Dad had led an entrepreneurial lifestyle. My childhood was spent attending exhibitions, visiting factories, travelling – and it must have rubbed off! While studying for my degree, I found myself rummaging through my Dad’s network and calling up factories to ask if they wanted a new designer.

And hey presto, one of them did! I was invited out to China to visit the factory in Fuzhou and exhibit at the world’s largest Arts and Crafts fair in Guangzhou. I gained invaluable experience; establishing and maintaining relationships with the management team, working closely with the sales team, and gaining hands-on experience setting up exhibitions.

What’s more, I learned the hard way how to take ‘creative’ feedback from team leaders and clients, and I was able to practise and perfect my graphic design skills in the real world of business.

I’d gone from being a traditional artist to being a tech-driven creative, and I’ve never looked back. The birth of Roamey: a design-driven software business

After finishing my degree I joined Falmouth University’s Launchpad Programme to learn how I could apply my art and design background in business. It taught me useful skills like how to identify a gap in the market, how to conduct competitor analysis, and how to create a solid marketing strategy. I learned tech skills as well, like how to design and create an app through prototyping.

After a year on the Launchpad Programme I had achieved an MA in Entrepreneurship. But I’d achieved something else as well: a new software business! Together with my Launchpad co-founders, we built Roamey, an online discovery platform and app for activities, events, volunteer groups, restaurants, accommodation, and experiences.

We offer fair rates to businesses, and give users some amazing features to make travel planning easier. Importantly, we’ve also partnered with 1% For the Planet – a global organisation with a mission to enrich lives and make moments matter.

Art and technology: an awe-inspiring combination

What have I learned from my experience so far? Firstly, technology has this stigma of being geeky; a subject that only boys do, a boring subject full of numbers and Excel sheets. But WOW, is that SO wrong! It’s our fastest growing industry and has produced so much innovation and modernisation in so many fields.

And that leads to the second thing – that technology makes anything possible. Take a moment and imagine that you could create your own world. That you had all the tools, all the resources, all the colours, shapes, textures to invent anything you liked. Now imagine yourself in that space. It’s all possible now, with the help of virtual reality.

Who knew art could be so inventive?! I certainly did not! But I’ve learned that the power of technology and creativity together are awe-inspiring – and the two skills together will only become more important as time moves on.

Find out more about starting your own business

Georgie gained her MA in Entrepreneurship on Falmouth University’s Launchpad Programme, which supports entrepreneurs to build their own high-tech business. Find out more about Launchpad.


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