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Student entrepreneur creates ‘dating app’ for adopting dogs

Forget dating apps – this matchmaking app helps you find your perfect pet in just a few swipes. We spoke to founder Jaye Graham about her app, and how to start a business at university.

We’ve all heard of using dating apps to find the love of our lives – but what about using them to find loving pets in need of a home?

This unique business idea was masterminded by Jaye Graham while she studying Economics and Sociology at uni.

We chatted to Jaye about the ideas behind this (quite frankly brilliant) app.

An app for finding rescue cats and dogs

Jaye and her family were already passionate about rehoming rescue dogs, so when she had to submit a business idea for a module in her second year at the University of Kent, some brainstorming led her to come up with the idea for Pawfect Match.

After entering her idea into a competition back in 2016, she received mentorship and business funding to get it off the ground, and the venture has since gone from strength to strength.

So how does the app actually work, and what are Jaye’s tips for budding student entrepreneurs?

How Pawfect Match helps pets get rehomed

Pawfect Match app

Pawfect Match works just like many popular dating apps – swipe right if you’re interested, and left if you’re not.

Except, instead of eyeing up potential love interests, you’re swiping for pets instead.

The idea is that each rescue dog or cat will have specific needs and characteristics, and likewise, each home will be suitable for some animals and not others. Users set up their filters as you would with a typical dating app, but there are some slightly different choices…

If you’re looking for a dog, for example, you choose your preferred age range, sex, dog size and whether you need a dog who can live around children or other dogs.

Once your filters are all set up, you’ll be able to swipe through a selection of dogs and cats which match your requirements. You swipe right for the ones you like, and left for the ones you’re not interested in.

Once you’ve found one that you like, you’ve got a pawfect match! You’ll then be able to message the animal shelter via the app, or contact them separately.

The app currently matches people to cats and dogs, but Jaye has plans to expand this to include other animals in the future.

She hopes that by simplifying the process of adopting dogs and cats, and helping match the right animals to the right owners, she’ll increase the numbers being rehomed.

Setting up a mobile app business

Jaye Graham Pawfect Match

Of course, it’s taken a lot of hard work and dedication for Pawfect Match to reach the stage it’s at now.

After winning investment through the Business Start-Up Journey competition, Jaye applied for a seed fund from her uni to get things going.

Since Jaye isn’t studying a practical business course at uni, she’s had to develop skills as she goes along, and admits she’s made mistakes along the way.

But it’s through making these mistakes, and learning lessons when things go wrong, that Jaye has been able to bring her vision for the app to life.

How to start a business at university

young team working together at laptop

So how easy is it to set up a business at uni? And with so many start-ups these days having a digital focus, do you need to have tech skills to succeed?

According to Jaye, while you do need these people on your team, you don’t need to be a technological wizard yourself to get going.

So if tech skills aren’t the key to success, what is? While having a great business idea is one thing, having the skills to make it a reality and start earning money is a whole different ball game.

According to Jaye, it’s about working with the people around you – whether that’s fellow students, other business owners or the opportunities on offer at your university.

Plus, universities often have schemes and opportunities available to help students set up businesses that you won’t find anywhere else – which is why Jaye believes uni was the perfect time for her to create the app.

Pawfect Match is available on iOS and Android now, so if you or your family are in the position to offer an animal a forever home, download it and get swiping.

Any animal rescue centres who would like to be part of the app can get in touch with Jaye on Facebook.

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