Tradedoubler has launched its 2015 edition of the Zoo Project, an e-commerce performance marketing incubator providing successful applicants with in-house mentoring and office space in central London.

Ten UK-based entrepreneurs will take advantage of one year’s rent and rates-free office space at Tradedoubler’s headquarters in Moorgate and mentoring from affiliate marketing and technology experts.

Access will also be provided to the network’s major brand advertisers and partners.

A helping hand

This news comes at a time when the UK has been named the most entrepreneurial country in Europe, with nearly 500,000 new businesses created in 2014 according to StartUp Britain. However, the high cost of office space, and a lack of sound business advice and mentoring are likely to contribute to the failure of 50% of UK start-ups in the first five years. Tradedoubler wants to help resolve these challenges.

In order to secure a place on the Zoo Project, applicants must present their business plan to a panel of industry ‘dragons’ comprising of marketing and business experts from some of the UK’s top companies in the industry.

To secure a place, applicants need to present their business plan which will be judged by the panel of industry ‘dragons’. This year’s panel includes:

  • Mary Keane-Dawson, CEO myHealthPal & global ambassador British Interactive Media Association (BIMA).
  • Leo Harrison, co-founder of Squawka Sports.
  • Matt Wood, managing director at Vouchercloud.
  • Hannah Rouch, head of product, Bauer Xcel Media (and founder of StyleNest).
  • Dan Cohen, regional director at Tradedoubler.
  • Sarah Parsonage, managing director at PerformanceIN.

Since its conception in 2011, The Zoo Project has helped launch eleven startups including online fashion retailers HipSnip, StyleNest, LUX FIX and lifestyle site

Hannah Rouch, founder of StyleNest and judge on this year’s panel hopes to pass on the knowledge she acquired from the scheme to young entrepreneurs starting their own business:

“Many startups face a lonely journey in the early years, however the Zoo Project gave me the chance to discuss challenges with a breadth of people in a similar stage of their business, providing a collaborative and supportive environment.

“The best piece of advice I would give to applicants is to know that while there will be hurdles and challenges along the way, don’t be afraid to face these and to never give up when things go wrong. Embrace all that comes your way as part of the journey.”

Dan Cohen, regional director at Tradedoubler, said: “Through the Zoo Project, we’ve discovered innovative new affiliates, startups and publishers and have worked collaboratively with them to help maximise commercial opportunities in the early stages of their development.

“The insight we can share from some of the world’s most successful and respected brands is priceless for any new business and we’re looking forward to welcoming the next generation of talented web entrepreneurs.”