01.02.2020 – Kelley Price
Lliam Casey, 21, launched student jobs app just as hospitality industry shut down.
When Lliam Casey launched student jobs app Phavour last year, nobody could have predicted what impact the pandemic would have.
Now with pubs, bars and restaurants still shut, the 21-year-old has had to turn his original business plan on its head.
“We are a platform that focuses on students,” says Lliam from Hartlepool.
“Their biggest employers are the hospitality industry.
“So it’s been a year of change for everyone – and that’s certainly been the case for us.”
He decided to focus on what Phavour could do to help their community while one of its key sectors was shut down.
A Hartlepool variation of the app was launched from their Innvation Centre office at Queens Meadow Business Park.
He’s also started working with businesses and even moved into homeschooling opportunities for its subscribers.
Now he’s got his sights set on the US market.
And whatever covid has thrown at them, they’re “still here” he says.
“It could have, and should have, gone a lot better,” says Lliam.
“We are completely community driven at the minute, people helping each other out, doing someone a favour.
He’s working with Teesside University and also hoping to get into the Northern School of Art.
“My uncle is furloughed and is currently a teacher from his kitchen table, which gave us an idea.
“If you’re in Year 7 say, and you’re stuck on a maths homework question, there is going to be a student that can do it better than your dad.”
“There are also a lot of businesses that have been forced to move into digital for the first time due to covid.
“They might have been ripped off, or just don’t know what they’re doing.
“So our community is helping with that.
“For example, we’ve helped a burger place in town create an online ordering system.
“It’s been really hard.
“It’s not what I wanted to do, if you’d have told me a year ago this is where we’d be I would have been disappointed.
“We built up the hype for this game-changing app – and we haven’t been able to provide that, through no fault of our own.
“But it hasn’t been a terrible year.
“We are still here – and if we can get through this, what can’t we get through?”