Supporting role: Business Durham and Sideline

September 4, 2019

Michael Harriott, business engagement officer on the Durham Business Opportunities Programme at Business Durham, has worked with Sideline’s Ben Segni to support an innovative new app offering sports teams and clubs a cost-effective digital alternative to printed programmes

Michael Harriott

I started working with Ben last year as he wanted to focus on getting his sports platform to market. I really liked the business idea and could see a commercial market for it.

We communicate regularly via email and telephone and have ad hoc face-to-face meetings that are driven by Sideline’s journey and the opportunities and challenges it comes across.

I don’t have the technical skills Ben does, but I understand the target market well from the perspective of a fan and a sports club.

I support Ben to move his idea forward and was able to facilitate a local sports club trialling the platform. Not only did this help develop the product, it had a bearing on the way forward for the app.

I also introduced Ben to another local sporting contact, who enabled him to engage with the Falcons Rugby Club, and we featured Sideline as a case study, which was picked up by the media. This led to other opportunities, like speaking

at Gateshead College and working with the Department for International Trade.

The most useful bit of advice is to set targets to make sure the business is moving forward.

It’s all part of my role working for the Durham Business Opportunities Programme, which is focused on connecting businesses with networks, opportunities and support that can help them move to the next level.

Ben has all the skills to make his business a success. I’m sure with hard work and passion he will be able to realise Sideline’s potential.

Ben Segni

The introduction made by Business Durham gave us the opportunity to work with Spennymoor Town Football Club for a five-month period of field testing.

That has been crucial in understanding what the requirements are for a club of Spennymoor’s structure when thinking about the second-screen experience for fans.

We meet regularly and Michael is always happy to offer suggestions. For example, Space4Sports Kick Start was a great lead, which gave us the chance to think about how GPS tracking within our application could branch out to other products.

We have received positive feedback for our venture and most importantly the response we’ve had from end-users has been staggering.

We are now working closely with the Department for International Trade to build our network of potential clients abroad. We are in communication with groups in Qatar to begin exploring how we can assist the development
of second-screen experience for future sporting events.

Our product is now ready for market and over the forthcoming weeks we will be in contact with clubs across the region and the country to get them on board our feature-rich platform.

Our long-term ambition is to deliver these services to events such as the FIFA World Cup.

We are making steady progress towards making this a reality.

Business Durham


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