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Ziyx, Helping young people to have a purpose in life

Revolutionize your future with ZIYX, the innovative platform offering games, support, and tools to empower your digital business journey.

Mentoring | Research and development |

The need

Finding a purpose in life and a direction for your career is a challenge for many young people. Even more so if your age, background, education, connections, and finances are stacked against you. Cherriss Manzi is passionate about creating a business that will open new opportunities for such people. She was fortunate to experience ten years in corporate life; ten years that she, and others around her, found unsettling and lacking in purpose. So, she and her sister Fay started to explore how to start a business and soon discovered just how complex, confusing, and contradictory the available information could be.

Three years of research told them that 74% of 18–25-year-olds want to start a business but that a lack of finance, underpinned by a lack of confidence, holds them back. They also concluded that the business advisory system was not designed for, or aimed at those whose circumstances limited their destiny.

The solution was to go online, incorporate gamification and build a business advice and sign-posting platform designed for the individual who might otherwise feel intimidated and give up. ZIYX comes from the German word zeitgeist meaning ‘the spirit of our time’. Cherriss and Fay, together with their father and a team of specialists, have embarked on a journey that they hope will eventually build a global business.

The solution

Cherriss recognized the need to find out as much as possible about their target demographic as well as getting a real understanding of business. Brunel University London’s expertise and facilities stood out from other university offers, and they were introduced to business development manager Bal Ghoman. He guided them through early-stage planning and involved the Games Design department in prototype research and development, helped by winning an Innovation Voucher.

In 2023 Cherriss joined the second RIEm programme to learn more about how to attract government funding which at the time was starting to be cut.

“There are very few places where you can learn in depth how to fund the start-up and launch of your business. RIEm workshops on product innovation and research methodology pulled everything together so that potential investors would grasp what we want to achieve. Despite being turned down for a SMART grant, I realise that next time I will identify a particular ZIYX innovation in need of funding.

“I found that the bid writing process made me really focus on defining what my business is about, why we needed the money, and the right kind of finance for the stage of growth.” 

The outcome

ZIYX technology is in full production and will launch in the UK in August 2024. It is free to users as the company will issue country licenses as well as generate income through affiliate national and international partnerships and local members’ services.

The company has attracted private investors and employs 5 technology developers based in Scotland alongside 2 staff in the London creative team. In addition, they call on ten consultants including the Rebel Business School which shares similar aims to ZIYX.

“Brunel University has been a key player in our journey and these past three years have been some of the best of my life. I’ve learned a lot about what drives me and why I want to create something of meaning and impact. Tapping into the academic rigor of RIEm and the Games Design team has grounded our thinking and made us focus on developing a solid technology product and a sound business strategy. “Anyone thinking about bringing a new idea to market should apply for a place on the next RIEm programme. It will streamline your thinking and help your decision-making. I also enjoyed being amongst others like me, and the way in which we sense-checked ideas and offered each other advice. Knowing you are not alone on your journey and can be part of a community is amazing.”

CHERRISS MANZI, Managing Director, Ziyx

Cherriss and the team have created a solution for young people looking for a purpose-driven career. Starting your own business can be daunting but ZIYX will provide users with the confidence they need to take those early steps. It will be exciting to see how the technology rolls out across the UK and then globally. I hope the partnership with Brunel can continue to help their journey.

Dr Michael Joseph, Business Development Manager (Healthcare and MedTech) & RIEm Lead

Get in touch with the project team member(s) for this case study

Dr Michael Paratharayil Dr Michael Paratharayil
Email Dr Michael Paratharayil Business Development Manager
I have managed large partnerships for 15+ years in private sector, in over 25 countries including for a large Consultancy Group in senior management role. I have led capacity strengthening programmes in the UK and overseas on resource mobilisation and funding diversification. I have secured large funding and investment in health, education, research and innovation. I manage research and innovation and knowledge exchange partnerships with businesses and health sector actors in the field of Health and Med Tech innovation. I conceptualised and lead Brunel's award winning Research, Innovate and Emerge (RIEm) Programme to strengthen the capacity of businesses to optimise innovation and access funding to take the solution to the market. I am a member of Brunel’s Business Innovation Board and contribute to Early Career Academic Capacity Development Programmes and South Asia Regional Working Group in addition to innovation ecosystem management with businesses. I previously successfully led the delivery of Brunel’s Business Resilience Fund. I am a Vice Chair of UK Public Administration \Association (UKAPA). Reuters named me as one of the top 10 influential international programme managers in 2010. I speak at national and international conferences on innovation funding systems. I completed my PhD in Public Health and am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK). Connect with me on LinkedIn

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Case study last modified 07/06/2024

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