Creatives in the Industry: James Kaguima

Our alumnus James is on a mission to empower the skate community. Here’s how he built his award-winning platform, Skate Cabal

3 August 2022

Tell us about you

My name is James Kaguima, I am an award-winning Social Entrepreneur and founder of Skate Cabal - an award-winning platform that amplifies stories & safe spaces for the Roller-Skating Community in the UK.

I was also among the winning founders at the Young Entrepreneurs Alliance competition organised by Echo, supported by Lendlease, London Legacy Development Corporation, IQL and Newham Council.

How would you describe Skate Cabal?

Skate Cabal’s platform aims to help amplify safe spaces and the voices of the roller-skating community, by documenting safe spaces & community groups in a directory. We also curate content around the skate community to digitally magnify the roller-skating experience through our campaign called Rolling in Peace.

What inspired you to build the platform?

My inspiration came from witnessing how vibrant and uplifting the roller-skating community was, especially during the lockdown when people were facing a lot of social isolation and mental health issues. Many have expressed that roller skating has provided them with an outlet for enhancing their social connectivity and mental well-being, as it helped them rebuild their support network, whilst also receiving fitness benefits from skating.

However, many have complained about the lack of dedicated safe spaces for roller skating compared to other mainstream sports, despite how big the roller-skating community is in the UK, so I decided I wanted to help them find safe spaces and get their voices heard.

I posted a TikTok video showcasing how to use the mobile web app (minimum viable product) on Facebook groups, which is where most roller skaters congregate. It went viral and people were signing up and showed a lot of interest in the platform.

Rolling in Peace: Roller Disco Social Media Post  (10).png

What have you been up to recently?

I recently spoke at the closing ceremony of London Tech Week where I talked about the future generation and innovation at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. It was also the official launch of SHIFT: a new inclusive innovation district and partnership on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park with a mission to create better urban futures.

Additionally, I was invited to Samsung’s Solve Tomorrow Award Ceremony, as part of Samsung’s global initiative where young entrepreneurs get to show how the power of tech can help tackle various complex issues.

It was truly inspiring to be among the young entrepreneurs & innovators on the programme and witness the growth and full potential of the next generation of leaders to pioneer positive social change. The programme has helped me further develop Skate Cabal.

Furthermore, I got the opportunity to be interviewed by BBC News where I talked about my Social Entrepreneurial journey and my experience building Skate Cabal. I also shared how A New Direction and Good Growth Hub provided me a safe space and support network during the lockdown in 2020 through their Future Startup programme, where I was among the competition finalists who won the prize funding from Mayor of London to help support our start-up ventures and initiatives.

This year also marks the 10th anniversary since the Olympics & Paralympics 2012 games, so we are celebrating the success and legacy that continues to positively impact in our local communities at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome in your social entrepreneurial journey?

During my social entrepreneurial journey, I have experienced numerous hurdles, curveballs, and roadblocks in all aspects of life. One thing I learned is that life will keep throwing curveballs until you learn how to throw them back. You can do this by being proactive and less reactive when problems arise.

Is there anything you wish you’d known before starting up?

When starting a new venture, it is common to wait until the product is perfect before releasing it to the public, but this time around I released an unperfect version and still received valuable feedback, which helped me decide whether I should pursue this start-up or not, and how I could improve it. If I knew this would happen, I would have launched sooner.

Any top tips for founders struggling with structure?

Writing my ideas and thoughts down on paper or my whiteboard has helped provide more clarity when I am planning and visualising processes and workflows. This has helped me refine how I communicate my ideas. You could have the best idea in the world, but if you are unable to communicate it to your audience, it becomes worthless.

What are some of the goals in your journey ahead?

Skate Cabal has already secured funding from our local council and the National Lottery to run skating programmes. We would like to continue this success by securing partnerships with sports brands, while also becoming the leading digital platform that amplifies safe spaces and the voices of the roller-skating community in the UK.

I recently also hosted a Summer Skate Festival as part of the Great Get Together festival at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, working alongside London Legacy Development Corporation. To be involved at one of London's largest park festivals with over 25,000 visitors was a great personal achievement for me. You can read more about out how the Summer Skate event went here.

Skate Cabal Website: www.SkateCabal.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/skate.cabal

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