Sharing Stories from the Black Business Incubator: Maxine Binger’s Koobool

24 Apr 2023

The Black Business Incubator at Somerset House helps early-stage Black entrepreneurs unlock their full creative potential. 

The programme provides monthly expert-led masterclasses, mentorship from industry specialists, free access to a co-working space, as well as a variety of community events. We believe entrepreneurial success relies on being part of a supportive and inclusive creative community.

We wanted to introduce you to this brilliant group, so we tasked the entrepreneurs with answering some of our questions to explore their stories. Koobool’s mission is to transform children's reading experiences. The organisation draws upon themes of access for all children and families, being creative and using emerging technology. Here we speak with Maxine Binger, founder of Koobool.

How did you get started as a creative entrepreneur?

I am a teacher and a parent, and I see the challenges surrounding reading from both perspectives. At first, I just wanted to do something small to encourage children recommending books to each other but a new-born baby, Covid, and home schooling came along and I realised I could offer more. 

Why creative? The curriculum squashes creativity due to lack of time, amongst other things, and I think it's time to bring creativity back. Back to children's learning and back to the family. 

What are your biggest achievements as a business so far?

Koobool is at the beginning of its journey. I currently have a minimum viable product (MVP) version of the Koobool app, which is great, and the families that have been involved in validating and feeding back on this have been highly positive.

Plus, this is an exciting year for us as we have an advertising campaign set to go live, through Cadburys and Chelsea FC Women; this is a wonderful opportunity. I do not currently have a product/service to share and this opportunity has propelled me to speed up the launch campaign that I was working on. It’s been a fantastic drive for me.

What was the impact of the Black Business Incubator programme on your business?

The training and workshops have been invaluable. The quality of those delivering have been excellent as well as the sharing of experiences with other members of the Incubator at sessions. This has helped steer me on my journey. The mentorship was great too - very supportive and understanding with great ideas to tackle my next steps. 

The programme has helped to keep me focused, on task and accountable. I am a solo founder, and being a member of the incubator has not allowed me to give up or doubt success.

What advice would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur hoping to start their own business?

I would share the importance of validating the idea. When I started, I researched what to do first and then continued to develop the brand concepts, research competitors (which is so useful now), develop the vision and mission, etc. I got these things down beautifully on paper, however (although those things are great), I later realised that I should have had more focus on validation and got the idea out there.


Are you an ambitious creative entrepreneur who is motivated to build your business skills to create sustainable growth? Applications are now open for the next cohort of the Black Business Incubator. We’re on the lookout for Black-led creative businesses that are embracing innovation, pushing boundaries and making an impact.

Black Business Incubator is developed in partnership with Mentor Black Business and sponsored by Morgan Stanley