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Blazing a trail, bootstrapping and moving with the times

Hello there! Welcome to humanfirstapproach – if you’ve happened upon this blog and are wondering what’s this all about, let me enlighten you!

I’m Chi-chi Ekweozor and I am a female tech founder, my most recent product or platform is still in the build stage but having taken the start-up journey a few times before I wanted to start this blog to share some insight into the highs and lows of being a female tech founder and some of the learnings along the way which have informed the way I develop products and services. I don’t claim to be any kind of guru or expert (is anyone?) but I do believe that sharing journeys warts and all is the best way founders can support one another.

So, where did I start and how did I end up here?

I originally studied Electronic and Communication Engineering at York University and following this I worked on different projects as a software developer. In my free time, I am hugely passionate about music which led me to start a podcast (way before podcasts were a thing!) with the idea of getting businesses to sponsor the content being created for emerging artists in Manchester – but it didn’t fare well despite approaching large companies such as T-Mobile. I was clearly too early to the market: whilst I was creating podcasts they were still focusing on MySpace a huge platform back then for emerging artists. My first business failure you could say but always take the positives and learnings – the idea was sound – but the market wasn’t ready. 

My next venture fared better, I pivoted to set up the podcast, Real Fresh TV as a social media agency based in Manchester, which, amongst other things, helped companies turn Facebook ‘Likes’ into paying customers. Real Fresh TV was shortlisted for a Channel 4 4Talent Multi-Platform Award in recognition of work on Real Fresh TV’s pioneering web TV shows including the 3 Minute Gig, Europe’s first iTunes-listed live music video podcast – proof in the much earlier baked pudding that podcasts were taking off and a good lesson that in business timing is everything.

Still a techie at heart

A few years later I attended a conference where audience members were invited to text in questions for the Q&A session to one person’s number. At the end of the 3-day event, the organisers would sit down and discuss the questions that were texted before replying in a panel session. It sounds archaic now, in the world of instant questions and answers and knowledge at our fingertips but the system despite being slow did work – my technical brain however knew there was a better solution.  I considered this for a while, how it would work, where it would be hosted, and how people would interact with it and armed with learnings and connections gained while running Real Fresh for nearly 7 years between 2006 and 2012 I went on to build Assenty.

It wasn’t without its problems, but with the benefit of hindsight and reflection I now know not to build anything unless you’ve identified a clear problem that the solution will solve. The product launched in August 2016 and worked with organisations including PwC, Newcastle Start Up Week and  Leeds Digital Festival and prior to the pandemic Assenty was the only web-based platform that allowed event organisers to interact with the audience on social platforms while others required the people to download apps.

A Changing Landscape 

The global pandemic changed the landscape for a lot of businesses but it was also the catalyst for my latest product. It can be easy to continue forward with a product or business that has possibly served its time, it is much more difficult to move away and reassess. The changing way in which events and business development are delivered and the challenges faced in continuing to deliver community events throughout the pandemic and beyond helped me identify a need, a gap in the market and so it is here where you find me.

Building, Bootstrapping and solution-providing with my platform Attendist. 

This blog isn’t about the company or the platform – you won’t find a hard sell here ever, but if you’d like to learn more about that journey and perhaps engage with it too then please take a look at Likewise, if you’d like to connect with fellow Female Tech Founders please do visit us at, we are an online and in-person community for female founders and we’d love to welcome you. 

I hope you enjoyed this blog and that you want to hear more. I’ll be sharing regular content here plus there’ll be plenty from the team too on a range of topics relating to start-up journeys, entrepreneurship and our learnings too.

See you soon!