A view from the top: TribeFirst

TribeFirst MD Steve Duttine on overcoming early-career setbacks and plans to crack the US

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What was it like finding your first job?

I used to do summer jobs as an Air Conditioning Engineering Apprentice working in the family business but my first career role was in photography. I'd studied photography in Newcastle and then gone to Edinburgh to intern at a newspaper and then an agency.

This was during the financial crash so it was pretty poor timing to be coming out of uni so I was delighted that the newspaper offered me a position, but then a couple of weeks before I started, I had a horrible call to tell me the company was making redundancies and the offer was being withdrawn! It was pretty devastating and it took me a while to find my feet again.

How did you get involved with TribeFirst and what drew you to the company?‍

I'd worked on a business consulting project with Virgin, the result of which was a programme they set up and had John, the founder of TribeFirst, run. I was applying for another position in crowdfunding and went on the course to learn a bit more. John and I got talking and I realised the work TribeFirst did sat nicely between my backgrounds of business and creative production.

Joining a young small company means the role can often be more dynamic than in more established companies where processes are already firmly established.

What are you most proud of to date at TribeFirst?‍

Our first million pound client raise was a long time coming; we just couldn't seem to bag one, then three came along in about 6 months.

Why is it important for your business to hire young people?‍

We're in a new industry that's changing, there aren't veterans who've been doing this for decades and so younger people are not at the same hard experience disadvantage as other companies.

Where do you see TribeFirst evolving over the next 5 years?

We've had a toe in the US market for a while but I see that as a big potential growth area where we might set up an office if work becomes more regular.