A business goal, to inspire one million people to improve their health and wellbeing, is the mission of Edge Hill University graduate Ross Aylmer.
The 21-year-old from Ormskirk, who has graduated with First Class Honours in Sports Development and Management, is already making a positive impact with his Pactive app, which was inspired by the experience of helping his Nan change her lifestyle following a Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis.
“With the concept I was able to share small steps that assisted her recovery and have ensured a significant change in her lifestyle, but we also found that our relationship became much stronger.
“On reflection I saw an opportunity to create a platform where people in similar situations could embark on the same mission with the outcome of improving their health and wellbeing. So, I began to formulate the idea which meant creating an app which was a combination of activity tracking and social media.”
Ross began to develop his idea in his first year at University, setting up and meeting a range of relevant parties, including app development companies, marketing agencies and lawyers, while enhancing his business knowledge.
His initiative was also boosted by support from academics and the skills gleaned from his studies, an ideal grounding for helping to launch his business idea.
“I found it beneficial, some of the modules gave me a greater depth of knowledge and allowed me to continue to develop skills important for entrepreneurism.
“The greatest inspiration came from Chris Hughes, Greg Doncaster, David Haycock and Jack Sugden. Their support gave me the confidence to push my business forward while studying. I took a lot of inspiration from their positive comments, their genuine interest in giving me strong mentorship as and when I needed it.
“The fact there was also lots of presenting and group work in my course also gave a great balance between educational achievement and the development of the required professional skills post-University.”
Pactive was launched on 21 December 2018 at an event held at his old school, Scarisbrick Hall, where he had been head boy. It attracted 120 people including the app’s VIP early access users, health authority representatives, family and friends.
“Our numbers continue to grow, and we have had some fantastic stories from our users of the transformations that they have received. The goal that has been set is to improve the health and wellbeing of one million people.”
A key development to the app which will allow collaboration with health authorities, local councils, charities, businesses and educational establishments, is well underway.
“The idea is that these partnerships will act as motivation for our users to get involved and earn rewards for wellbeing improvements they make”, noted Ross. “They will work with ‘Pacts’ (a challenge the user is part of), created by charities to raise awareness and donations.
“Also, pacts created by health authorities and councils will be working to engage users in driving the social inclusion and cohesion of communities who will be working together to enhance the wellbeing of the population within their care. I also see an opportunity to maintain my relationship with Edge Hill by working together to develop the idea for students and alumni.”
Ross, who earned a high achiever’s scholarship ahead of University, believes students should use their time wisely, while also aiming for self-improvement.
“I found that having a ‘purpose’, combined with my education gave me greater focus and satisfaction. It’s always easier to do what you love, so it never feels like work. If you know the profession you want to move into then ensure every day, you are taking the correct steps that develop your skills.
“I found that networking, for example, using sites like LinkedIn, were beneficial to begin to develop connections and conversation with people in your sector or with a shared ‘purpose’, which gave me a big head start while undertaking my studies.”
Ross’s future plans revolve around growing the business, as well as a position at Scarisbrick Hall School as a strategic sport development officer.
Ross’ app is available on the Apple app store and Google Play and is free to use.
Find out more about studying Sports Development and Management at Edge Hill University by visiting the course page.