RESPONSIBLE investing £1.2m and creating 13 jobs at Belfast HQ
Pictured (L-R) are Susan O'Kane, Invest NI's Eastern Regional Manager; and Mark Dowds, RESPONSIBLE founder and CEO.
Fashion-tech start-up RESPONSIBLE is investing over £1.2million in its business to support innovation and business development, which will see the creation of 13 jobs at its new Belfast headquarters.
Based in Weavers Court, Belfast, the high-potential start-up aims to create a platform for sustainability and circularity in fashion by incentivising brands and consumers to buy, sell and trade clothes. The company’s Buy Back program is key to this, partnering with fashion brands directly to include them in the resale of used clothes and facilitating the consumers’ return process.
Our re-Commerce solution offers a sustainable experience for shoppers and strong economic incentives for the industry that makes sustainable fashion more accessible.
Mark Dowds, RESPONSIBLE founder and CEO
This latest investment follows the company’s recent £5m seed funding round. Mark Dowds, RESPONSIBLE founder and CEO, said: “The fashion industry needs to take meaningful steps towards de-carbonisation and critical to that is the embrace of circularity. Our re-Commerce solution offers a sustainable experience for shoppers and strong economic incentives for the industry that makes sustainable fashion more accessible.”
Mark is also a founder of the Ormeau Baths co-working space for local innovators and entrepreneurs. He continued: “We first approached Invest Northern Ireland in early 2021 to see how it could support the setup of our sustainable business. I’ve seen first-hand the high standard of talent on offer in Northern Ireland through the development of Ormeau Baths. I knew that this type of talent would be vital to our success, and we decided to base our HQ in Belfast, over New York, London or Amsterdam.
“We have a zero waste ambition for our business and need to be at the cutting edge of sustainable innovation if our business is to reach new markets in GB and Europe. With Invest NI’s support we will establish an innovation hub here in Belfast that will help us unlock growth. We’re excited to see what the future holds.”
Invest NI has offered RESPONSIBLE £98,000 towards the creation of 13 jobs, along with strategic business advice and support to protect the company’s intellectual property. Eleven of the jobs are already in place.
We’ve offered [Responsible] tailored guidance and support to help it grow, including introductions to key players in the Northern Ireland fashion and textiles industry and advice on carbon savings, resource matching and trademarking.
Susan O'Kane, Invest NI's Eastern Regional Manager
Susan O’Kane, Invest NI’s Eastern Regional Manager, said: “Responsible is a high-potential start-up with vast potential in the dynamic sustainability sector. With new business development identified as a key element of the Department for the Economy’s 10X Economic Vision our Eastern regional team has worked closely with Mark and his team to help it set up in Northern Ireland.
“We’ve offered tailored guidance and support to help it grow, including introductions to key players in the Northern Ireland fashion and textiles industry and advice on carbon savings, resource matching and trademarking. Our support will allow the company to grow at pace and put its international growth plans into action from its Belfast base.”
RESPONSIBLE has also availed of funding from Techstart NI, part of Invest NI’s Access to Finance suite of debt and equity funds. Techstart NI is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the EU Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014–2020.
Invest NI is committed to driving innovation in Northern Ireland; it is a proud partner of Innovate NI, a Department for the Economy programme, helping local businesses innovate successfully. For further information visit www.innovateni.com.
This support is part funded by the Department for the Economy Economic Recovery Action Plan.