Origin stories

Origin story: noun. a backstory, or established background narrative that informs the identity and motivations of heroes and villains.

Origin stories

A series of Q&As with some of our startup clients who are founders or leaders.

Origin stories

We dig a little into their origin story - how have they got here and what are their motivations?

We question some of our clients to discover their origin story – what has brought them to where they are now and what does the future hold for them? Obviously, they are all heroes to us…
Anenta Ltd: Graham Flynn, Managing Director and Founder
Anenta is an end-to-end waste management company that provides specific high-quality management services within the healthcare sector both public and privately, through the utilisation of technology.
Graham Flynn

Who are you and what do you do?

I am Graham Flynn, Managing Director and founder of Anenta Ltd. I spend the majority of my working day talking to customers about the problems they have, supporting them through challenging times such as the pandemic.

 Anenta is an end to end waste management company that provides specific high-quality management services within the healthcare sector both public and privately, through the utilisation of technology. We have invested more than £1m in the development of our software which has subsequently saved our public sector clients more than £4m over the last few years. I founded the business to deliver real change within the waste management sector as opposed to creating more talking shops about what could or could not be possible to deliver ‘sustainable’ services. To do this we needed a system that engaged with waste procurement officers, waste producers and waste collection companies whilst ensuring regulatory compliance at all times. We have achieved this through our collective experience and software that really does work.

When I am not talking to customers, I am trying to respond to a long list of emails and catching up with the team on matters that are important to them such as making sure we deliver on what we promise. A personal, yet important, part of every working day is speaking to my business partners and co-founders even if we do not always agree.

What were you doing five years ago?  

Fairly easy to answer that one. I was preparing tender responses for probably the biggest contract I could have thought of at the time. I had only had the business for three years, so everything was so fast-paced and always super urgent.

What has been the darkest day of your career so far and what did you learn from it?  

I have two. The first one is the day I had my employment terminated when I was 20. I had deliberately not followed instructions given to me and put at risk the reputation of my managers, something I think about every day. The second is every day my business partners spent arguing while trying to determine the best technology development philosophy to adopt for Vector, our hugely successful operating system. It seemed like we were about to fall apart before we started and I have to say it took its toll while I tried to find a path through for them to compromise. It was like watching McDonalds arguing with Burger King as to who has the better fries.

What has been the brightest day of your career so far? 

The day my wife immediately supported me when I suggested setting up Anenta without a second’s hesitation. This is closely followed by being awarded our very first contract management role for North London GP and Pharmacy services.

What qualities do you look for in the people you surround yourself with?
Honesty, resilience, a capacity to always learn, and the ability to recognise mistakes and fix them. I have a passion for excellent customer service so anyone who joins the team must have this at the forefront of their offering to the company.

What is the one piece of advice you would give your younger self as you were starting out?

Relax. Don't let the job own you and your family. Make lots of mistakes and do not think that you will solve everything perfectly the first time. Those mistakes will mould you and also, if managed well, will teach you patience.

What one piece of music could be the theme tune for the business and why?
This is a challenging question because I have such a varied music selection. My personal favourite is “Dig Down” by Muse. When I hear this song all I can visualise is the team digging in and working hard for the customers. The song, for me at least, is about never giving up and fighting against the odds, which is really how Anenta has achieved success, against the odds!

What is your next challenge?

The next big thing for us is expansion but also while doing that we need to ensure that our clients collectively benefit from waste as a resource. How can we lower energy bills for the NHS and social care services through better waste management? It's also about opening up disposal pathways for self-medicating individuals in their own homes to safely dispose of healthcare waste like needles. We won't be able to achieve this overnight but there are plans in place to work closely with our clients to help them through some challenging times. Overall, I think we can all agree that wastage has to stop whether it is a financial or physical resource to improve our environmental and economic outlook.

 

Where do you see the business, and yourself, in five years? 

Five years is not that far away. I have been asked this question many times and I can honestly say I have never been able to provide a clear answer. I guess I have not really taken the time to sit down and think about it. There are many things I could say but this would simply be a wish list. If I base it on what I set out to achieve, I would have to say that in five years I would like to stabilise the clinical waste market in the UK through good clear specification and procurement practices. I would like to have employed additional people around me that will be able to take the business further and faster to the point where we are considered a dominant force in environmental management support for the public and private sector that delivers real change and value. Above all I want Anenta and the team to continue to deliver the millions in savings for our customers that we have already achieved through hard diligent work.