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Laura Paterson, founder of CONCAT

StartIn: Hello and welcome on our Spotlight series. Laura, can you give us a quick introduction about yourself?

Laura: I’m Laura, I just turned 30 and I’ve been living and working across Europe and the Middle East for the past 6 years. I went to Edinburgh, studied Fine Art, worked in London for 4 years in Media and then moved to Lebanon in 2018 after coming here on holiday and loving it! I then worked for 3 years at an NGO in Beirut teaching programming and then in 2021 I started my own start-up CONCAT.

StartIn: And shifting to your start-up, can you give us a three-sentence overview what you are doing?

Laura: CONCAT is an award-winning digital service company led solely by refugee and women from countries of conflict. We employ top talented marginalised designers and developers all across the Middle East and they then design, develop and create web solutions for clients all over the world.

Our clients can be a new start-up on the scene in London or VC in Dubai, Africa, Australia, anywhere really! Let’s say they want a new logo, and/ or web design, website, SEO, Advertising, we bring it in-house to CONCAT and then our amazing team work remotely on it.

Our overall goal at CONCAT is to build a more inclusive tech sector, one where companies are hiring based on talent, irrespective of nationality, gender or location. There are so many talented refugees and marginalised women around the world who need employment, however they don’t know how to find it always and also companies don’t know about their talent or how to reach them, so CONCAT creates that bridge.

StartIn: Surely there are other agencies out there, also freelance platforms. How does your concept distinguish and why are firms choosing to go through you?

Laura: Yes for sure, what sets us apart at CONCAT is we really understand the pain points of working with developers and designers. In our management team, we have all worked with so many bad developers previously who don’t have good communication skills, don’t reply on time, disappear and are super expensive and even create products that we don’t know how to use! At CONCAT we have made all of these points our main focus, as a result our team are highly communicative, transparent and the best part, affordable :). It is also very much about celebrating the diversity, talent and individual stories of our team, advocating for the talent amongst refugee communities globally and breaking down stereotypes surrounding this.

StartIn: What is your current target group and how do you reach them?

Laura: Clients – our target client are companies that are looking for a full re-brand, and new website. They are normally non-technical companies, either sustainability companies or charities/NGO’s or companies that just want to do good in the world.

StartIn: What’s your big milestones in the next twelve months?

Laura: We are looking to expand CONCAT into Africa in 2024 which would be awesome and to continue growing our services. Most recently we added SEO and Advertising services because of our big client demand and we hope to be able to continue adding more services to help employ even more people.

StartIn: For the end, do you have one piece of advice for students finishing up their studies and thinking about becoming an entrepreneur?

Laura: Build your own professional network around you from day 1, even if you don’t know what you want to do, connect with everyone you meet on Linkedin, and reach out to people who are working on interesting things, follow the companies that you are think are doing good work, engage with them, even if you have nothing to say at the beginning, you never know who might help you down the line.

StartIn: Thank you very much for sharing your story!

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