What started as a fleeting idea became a reality for Croydon woman Kerry Hector, who is hoping to bring Hollywood to disadvantaged communities across the capital.
The idea is Movie Mobil, a luxury cinema in a bus that can travel between disadvantaged communities in the capital, offering an authentic cinema experience to kids at a reduced price.
Speaking about her business and everything that went into achieving it, Hector said: “Its not just about having a cinema on a bus, it’s creating that whole experience and making it more affordable. Watching movies is affordable, there’s so many ways now to watch movies, but actually having that cinema experience, you can’t beat that.”
Hector, 34, traces her business success back to a fleeting idea about a mobile cinema and a group email she received from her housing association A2 dominion.
“My eldest daughter loved going to the cinema but we were on a budget, so I just thought oh wouldn’t it be great if a cinema would just rock up downstairs and all the local kids could jump on board.
“The housing association I live in, A2 Dominion, sent a generic email to all of their residents asking if you had an idea that would help people in the local community.”
Hector began applying for funds that would support her business idea and the rest is history.
She said: “I thought I’d go with my idea and it would be really quick and it wasn’t, that was the most brilliant thing about it.”
Hector then started a six-month programme, learning the skills needed to create and develop a business plan, cumulated with a Dragons Den style event. The programme is called Be Inspired and is run by GGT solutions.
“I went every Saturday for six months and learnt all of the skills necessary, building my confidence to be able to pitch and things like that.”
Alongside the course, Hector worked a full time job at Virgin Atlantic as well as raising her two daughters, but the drive she felt to complete the programme successfully was incomparable.
“I got such a buzz along the way. Every Saturday morning I woke up raring to go to the programme.”
In March last year, Hector pitched and won £4950 worth of funding for her business, just short of the total being offered.
It was at this point she realised she needed more money: “I had a little wobble because all though £5000 would do a lot in my life, for what I wanted out of Movie Mobil it wouldn’t even scratch the surface. The programme taught me how to reach for more. This was my passion now.”
In order to purchase the bus, Hector went to Virgin StartUp, the non-for-profit Virgin Company for entrepreneurs, providing government-backed start up loans, ranging from £500 to £25,000.
The loan from Virgin combined with the funding received from A2 dominion meant that Hector’s dream finally became a reality, as she was able to purchase the bus and everything she needed to make it the luxury and authentic experience wanted.
“It makes me out of breath when I talk about it because it was such a short space of time and so much happened.”
An affordable cinema for people in disadvantaged communities seems to be a rarity these days due to the rising price of cinema prices in the UK. According to statistics found by the UK Cinema Association, in the space of 10 years, the price of a cinema ticket in the UK has gone from £4.87 to £7.41, and the entire trip, including drinks and snacks is near to hitting the £20 mark.
Hector has kept both of these prices in mind when creating Movie Mobil, planning for ticket prices to be in between the £3 and £5 mark, including popcorn and drinks in the price.
“I’m passionate about making the cinema more affordable and accessible to disadvantaged communities.”
The Movie Mobil bus will start its journey in housing estates in West London, but Hector is hoping to spread out to more local areas like Croydon.
“The tighter we become as a community and work together, the more we can get out of everything.”