Student and alumni success Stories

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Postgraduate Entrepreneurs Inspired at Enterprise Futures 2015

Enterprise Futures, a collaboration between the Universities of Manchester, Salford and Manchester Metropolitan University to encourage entrepreneurship amongst Postgraduate students, was held at the Museum of Science and Industry for the second year running on Tuesday 12 May. The event was heavily oversubscribed and the 200 that attended enjoyed a packed day of inspirational talks, skills workshops and access to individual advice. Robert Phillips and Jonathan Styles, based at Manchester Enterprise Centre, were the University of Manchester organisers.

Alistair MacDonald (Former BBC TV newsreader and founder of AMTV) acted as host for the event and new Director of MOSI, Sally MacDonald, put the day in context reminding us of Manchester’s Innovative past.

Keynote speakers were both well known successful Manchester entrepreneurs. Tom Bloxham illustrated the evolution of his property company, Urban Splash, which redesigns living spaces based on peoples needs and told several anecdotes from his entrepreneurial student days, for example, when he traded records and soon finding that chart-topping bands at the time such as Wham were not necessarily popular with students!  Lisa Tse discussed going from a successful finance career to running a restaurant in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, selling Chinese sauces from Manchester to China (scaling up from 100 bottles to 20,000 bottles in one week!) and there was a comical re-enactment of Lisa receiving her MBE with audience participation.

A fast-paced discussion with a panel of experts from banks, universities and entrepreneurs followed which was encouraging - revealing that in the UK, postgraduate student start up business survival rates after three years were, at 80-90%, much greater than the average and evidence that university support was helping these academic entrepreneurs.

A choice of skill building workshops followed including personal branding, commercialising your research and social enterprises. Patent Lawyer at large Durham Grigg was kept busy offering students individual advice on a variety of topics and following the event, enthusiastic informal discussion continued at The Wharf bar in Castlefield.

The pitching competition was won by Kayode Damali (creating informal podcasts of successful people for inspiring the next generation) who won £100 of Amazon Vouchers, free incubator space at Innospace and access to experienced mentors. Second place went to Antonios Lygidakis with his novel recruitment tests for employers (called Owiwi) and third to Annette Rimmer who is producing bespoke ads and jingles for local business with a local radio station.

For more information about this event, please contact Dr Robert A. Phillips.

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