CEO & Co-founder at Receptive Hannah Chaplin moved to Sheffield aged 6 and has chosen to make it home for her family and global business. In this interview Hannah explains why.
What were your early ambitions?
I never knew what I wanted to do! There was always a keen interest in business, politics and economics but I was a big music and sports fan too. I was also really excited to start work and got a job straight out of school at a software company in Sheffield. Computers were something I loved growing up but it wasn’t until I was inside a working software business that my eyes were opened to what an exciting and fast-paced industry it is.
What support did you get setting up your business?
Receptive is my third business but setting up the first one felt the most risky. It’s hard leaving a steady job to start a company from scratch but you become numb to that after a while. I had a lot of support from my husband who’s encouraged me with each venture, and my sister who is a fantastic sounding board. There’s also my Co-founder at Receptive, Dan Dukeson. He’s been the driver behind setting the current business up and we support and encourage each other along the way.
Why did you choose to start your business up in Sheffield?
I’ve lived in Sheffield since I was 6 years old and couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. I’ve settled here both personally and in terms of work. We’ve taken up residence in Globe Works, an old cutlery and tool factory restored by Sheffield City Council, European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), English Tourist Board, English Heritage and the Arts Council. It is now home to over 22 businesses. We’re very much looking forward to continuing to expand the team in the coming years. We have customers in the USA, Canada, Europe and Australia so bigger plans include further expansion in the US where there’s huge demand for what we do.
What is the most challenging thing about running your own business and what is the most rewarding?
Every day is a challenge but that’s why it’s so fun; if something is easy you don’t get nearly as much out of the experience. Learning everyday and having flexibility around my family is massively rewarding as is seeing an idea grow and evolve into a functioning business. It’s also great working with a bunch of fantastic people – that’s what really makes it.
If you were giving careers advice to your 14 year-old self, what would you say?
That it’s OK to be chilled out about everything! It has certainly stood me in good stead so far. I don’t think there’s any harm not having a particular ambition or career mapped out when you are young. There’s a lot of pressure on teenagers to be sure of their direction but I had so much fun not knowing and just taking opportunities as they came along.
Receptive is a software company that helps other software businesses make informed decisions about which features they should build into their products.
If you have a business start-up idea or an existing business in Sheffield that you would like to see grow and expand, contact Business Sheffield. This free and impartial service is delivered through Creative Sheffield, the economic development arm of Sheffield City Council, to create jobs and grow Sheffield’s economy.