eBay wanted to encourage people to turn their passion into a business, set up on eBay and start selling. Most people however shy away from setting up a business, put off by jargon and the view that it is too complicated.
With eBay seen as egalitarian - in that anyone can come up with an idea, make it and start selling, it seemed a bit like punk - you don’t need training if you have something to say. So if eBay wanted to prove how easy it is to launch a business, why not just do it?
Guardian News & Media asked readers for their business ideas by wrapping taxis, writing on receipts, using branded napkins, coffee shop cups and pub beer mats - formats likely to catch readers in ‘daydreaming’ mode. The Guardian newspaper was coverwrapped and articles with tips on how best to put ideas across were published.
More than 250 ideas were submitted, with Dragon’s Den’s entrepreneur Touker Suleyman coming on board to choose the lucky few, dubbed ‘the 15 ebay Doers’. They were given money to kickstart their business and paired with expert mentors for jargon-free advice. Business ideas ranged from plant-protecting snail barriers to eco-friendly scents to smart sunglasses and arty glass vases that grow acorns into oaks.
Readers realised that eBay could help them create businesses, with 39% of Guardian readers saying they believe they could start their own business with eBay, up from 15%.