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Aspiring Postgraduate entrepreneurs take part in Enterprise Futures

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Aspiring Postgraduate entrepreneurs take part in Enterprise Futures





More than 100 postgraduate students from The University of Manchester, University of Salford and Manchester Metropolitan University took part in the Enterprise Futures conference at Media City on 22 May 2017. The conference is designed to both inspire them to consider starting a business and provide specific skills that they might need to complement what they are currently learning on their academic courses. 

Jim Hancock, former Political Correspondent for BBC North West acted as host for the day ensuring the event ran smoothly and asking insightful questions of the guest speakers. First up was Antony Chesworth, whose company Ekm Systems powers 1 in 5 online shops in the UK. Antony, who introduced himself as one of the only people in Burnley to have got a Ferrari legally, explained how a yacht blocking his view of the sunset in Ibiza helped inspire him to start a business and suggested the only difference between entrepreneurs and everyone else is the work they put in executing an idea. 

He also explained how he was pleased that many customers who used his e-commerce platform were now millionaires themselves. Speaker Jon Wilks also gave a very upbeat talk with some audience participation with anecdotes from many years in marketing and sales in top companies, and how going that extra bit further than competitors in terms of service made a big difference describing the philosophy as “TNT” – Tiny Noticeable Things.

The panel of alumni entrepreneurs from the three universities included Falling Walls winner Daniel Laing, Jamil Khalil (Founder of Wakelet), Lavinia Goddard (VineJuice Radio) and Wai Lau (Cloud Enterprise). They were questioned on how they founded their businesses from their very different backgrounds and advised participants to make the most of all the support now available at universities. 

Late morning and early afternoon offered the chance to attend a choice of skills workshops including personal branding, practicalities of setting up a business, and presentation skills (facilitated by a trained actor). Individual meetings were on offer for those more advanced with their ideas with Durham Grigg, an experienced IP lawyer and Manchester Enterprise Centre lecturer Robert Phillips with his funding sources database providing specific support for a wide variety of ideas. In addition, the popular pitching competition again took place and was won by Lavinia Alexiou, winning incubator space, mentoring from highly experienced entrepreneurs and Amazon vouchers which has proved to be a very useful kick start in previous years.

After a successful day, highly energised participants headed to the Dockyard Bar at Media City to continue networking with those from other universities.

For further information about the Enterprise Futures conference, please contact The University of Manchester organisers:

Dr Robert A. Phillips (Robert.phillips@manchester.ac.uk
Jonathan Styles (Jonathan.styles@manchester.ac.uk)

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