Gamin on the Go: Gareth and Sandy Kirkbride

Gamin on the Go: Gareth and Sandy Kirkbride


The concept

Gamin on the Go offers a party alternative to the usual paintballing and go-carting options. Priced competitively against these alternatives, Sandy and Gareth’s mobile gaming theatre can be parked anywhere, from a garden or office park, to a school, mall or even a secure road.

Two generators mean the theatre does not need external power, and the range of games suit girls, boys and even adults. Gamin on the Go has catered for parties as well as new game launches, where fans can experience the games first hand.

What possessed them

According to his wife, Sandy, Gareth is a fountain of business ideas. Of course, the trick is homing in on an idea that works. An avid gamer with his ten-year-old son, Gareth knows the gaming industry, and when an international gaming franchise was profiled in the April 2011 issue of Entrepreneur’s Be Your Own Boss, his own idea took shape.

As a designer, he knew he could build a trailer that would service parties – 16 kids (or adults) all playing games at once, without people waiting their turn. “We wanted to do something fun and different, that we could eventually franchise,” says Gareth. ”This was it.“

Getting out there

The biggest challenge for any start-up is marketing, and the couple believes in ‘giving to get’. They did their first party for free so that the theatre could be visible, and have also provided free entertainment at expos and festivals.

They post flyers at schools and Gareth monitors gaming sites for new launches and events. He has made a number of barter deals. The business needs to host five parties per month to break even, and is aiming to do between six and seven a weekend.

Show me the money

The biggest challenge was raising money. While the business can be bootstrapped to a degree, particularly because Gareth and Sandy own another business, there were hardware requirements that needed to be financed: the mobile theatre needed to be built and outfitted and screens and games bought. So what did they do?

After exhaustive research the couple put a business proposal together for Nedbank, including franchising. Nedbank loved the proposal and the loan was approved within two weeks.

The next step

While Sandy and Gareth continue to gain exposure for their start-up, they have already received franchise enquiries from Joburg and Durban. Nedbank has also expressed an interest in possibly financing franchisees, with start-up costs ranging from R500 000 to R800 000.

Vital stats

Company: Gamin on the Go

Players: Gareth and Sandy Kirkbride

Launched: October 2011

Concept: A mobile gaming theatre for
parties, team building exercises, corporate events and game launches.

Contact: +27 (0)82 338 4317

Nadine Todd
Nadine Todd is the Managing Editor of Entrepreneur Magazine, the How-To guide for growing businesses. Find her on Google+.