Lancaster University

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Global Entrepreneurship Week

12/01/2010 00:00:00


Jameil Robertson winner of the Beermat Challenge Grand Final collecting his prize from Professor Amanda Chetywnd and Enterprise Champion, Jon Powell.
Jameil Robertson winner of the Beermat Challenge Grand Final collecting his prize from Professor Amanda Chetywnd and Enterprise Champion Jon Powell.

Over four hundred students and staff interested in setting up a business or commercialising research have taken part in Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW).

Enterprise Champion Jon Powell, from Research and Enterprise Services, organised the event along with the help of LUSU Involve, CEEC and the Lancaster Young Entrepreneurs Society.

He said: “It is great that Lancaster University gives our students the opportunity to seek expert advice, come into contact with other like-minded entrepreneurs and be made aware of all the support that is available on campus throughout their time at Lancaster.”

In the weeks beforehand, hundreds of students took part in The Beermat Challenge, a social-media enabled website that allows participants to write their business idea on a beermat (real or virtual) and encourage their friends to vote via the website. Over twenty one thousand votes were cast on 271 business ideas. Student Jameil Robertson received the most votes and was awarded a new laptop for his innovative idea for an interactive student web portal to share blogs, videos and other information such as money saving tips.

The week began with “Have you got what it takes to make it in the Film and TV industry?” hosted by The Storey Creative Industries Centre in Lancaster and organised by Charlotte Stuart from LICA, where film makers, writers, crew and producers advised on how to get started in the industry.

During the week, an impressive range of speakers shared their experiences of the challenges and rewards that entrepreneurship has brought them.

Dr Sharon O’Kane, co-founder of Renovo, talked about setting up a company to commercialise her academic research in drugs. The company’s value rocketed to £500million at its peak, and is now worth £70-80million.

Ian Aspin, a journalist and TV presenter who has interviewed entrepreneurs from across the world, stressed the importance of digital social media in a global market. His strong belief is that people are now much more likely to trust a recommendation on Facebook than a corporate advert.

FGH Security, the company that started out as Lancaster University bouncers and went on to receive offers from all five Dragons on BBC’s Dragons’ Den, came back to inspire student. Dave Dawes, a serial entrepreneur, described how he became involved in Social Enterprise.

Local businesses joined with the students for an iPhone App Development Day with InfoLab21 mobile experts Dr Reuben Edwards and Dr Paul Coulton. Both experts advised that the money making opportunities in mobile development were with iPhone Apps.

Other events in the week included:

The week’s events closed with a talk by Anthony Chesworth, a Lancaster graduate and entrepreneur whose desire to own and drive fast cars gave him the motivation to start his own business.

GEW is supported by the Higher Education Enterprise Champion Project which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, in collaboration with the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship.