Yala

Founders: Barry Prost and Jamie Groom
 
Number of Staff: 10
 
Start Date: 2018-05-01
 
Tell us what your business does?
We have launched a new platform for Employer Branding – called Yala Connect. To allow start-ups and SME s compete for talent against large corporates – we produce, host and publish videos, pictures and authentic stories to allow companies reach candidates in a more impactful way.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
Research shows that 86% of candidates today won’t apply to a company who does not have a strong employer brand. We saw that culture was becoming an ever-important criterion in decision making for prospective employees. So we wanted to provide a simple tool for SME’s, who usually have a great story to tell, to communicate that and make it easily accessible to the candidate market.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Yes
What planning did you do before you started up?
Both formal and informal research. We conducted a study with Trinity College Dublin and Enterprise Ireland into Recruitment challenges in 2021, but more importantly we spoke with employers, SME s in particular, to understand their challenges around talent attraction.
Which entrepreneurs do you admire?
My business partner, Jamie Groom is big fan of Richard Branson
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
I think the toughest time was at the beginning. Having just returned from nice shiny offices in the sunny Middle East where we had gone through the pain of growing a successful business over 10 years in Bahrain – we found ourselves back sitting in a small 2 man office having to do it all over again. Only this time it was cold, and above a warehouse off the M50! To solve that we quickly took on new people so it wasn’t just the 2 of us in the office!!
Covid was another major challenge. Our mantra when Covid hit was to cut deep and cut quick when it came to costs. Initially we:
– Let go part time staff
– reduced hours of full time staff
– cut all non-revenue generating expenditure.
We were able to push hard on credit control and bring in as much as cash as possible to the business. In January 2020 we signed a new lease on 3,000 square foot office to allow us to grow to 30 people. And by the end of March – we had gone fully remote! Luckily we had the IT infrastructure to make this possible in the form of internet phones, laptops and a CRM system to manage all our client activity. Through COVID we have retained all permanent employees and we are currently hiring a BD executive to sell our new platform.
How have you promoted your business?
We want to position ourselves as experts in the market when it comes to discussions around talent attraction and talent retention. Recently we have turned our attention to webinars. We have partnered with Universities and industry experts to host webinars and published whitepapers for clients on Employee Resilience and Recruitment during Covid and challenges for 2021.
Where do you see the business in 3 years’ time?
Our aim is to double size of team in 2021 to 20. Ideally we want to grow the business outside Ireland and across Europe to host 2,500 employers on Yala Connect within 5 years.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses and bring people into the business to compensate for your weaknesses.

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