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Case Study: SimpliGroup

Chris Downham was a young student at the University of Sheffield when he decided to attend the first Shield Programme to run in the “Steel City”.

Chris had a yearning to be an entrepreneur. The problem was that he lacked concrete ideas and commercial acumen. However, Chris Downham had determination, enthusiasm and emotional intelligence-he took action.

Chris emphasises the importance of an action orientated “can-do” approach to business as the first important feature of a successful entrepreneur

He also emphasises the importance of creativity and positive thinking. In this regard he found the Shield Programme highly beneficial. Thus he states:

The real beauty of the course is that it was primarily focussed on the development of unique business ideas and then the practicalities of taking these ideas   and forming a realistic business plan. I could not recommend this course more highly”.

Thus one of the key important lessons learned by Chris Downham from the Shield Programme was the importance of innovation and creativity. However, has he put these lessons into practice? He certainly has!

Together with twin brother Rob, they founded an innovative financial services company Simplicity Financial Services Group www.SimplicityFinancial.Com , which specialises in mortgage advice for property investors and first time buyers.  Also as part of this group they formed Simplibulgaria –a company dedicated to property developments in the former Soviet bloc Republic.  In particular they are concentrating upon eco-tourism and their village developments will be a haven for outdoor activities and the appreciation of nature at its finest.

One of these developments, the Geshaview Village, won the prestigious Bentley International Property award for 2005and 2006 for Best Bulgarian Development. These property awards are recognised as the Oscars of the Property Industry. Moreover, the 100- property state of the art development, won because of its “vision and innovation”. This award has resulted in a long queue of investors eager to purchase these excellent holiday homes.

This development is managed from Sheffield via a permanent video link and has secured jobs and wealth creation for the City of Sheffield


Since then they have established www.BulgarianHomeLoans.Com a financial services company that although only one year old now does over 90% of all mortgages for foreigners buying in Bulgaria.

Finally they have established a propery investment company specialising in property sales all over Bulgaria and an accountancy business www.SimpliAccounts.Com

Chris and brother rob receive the prestigious Bentley International Property award for innovation in 2005

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