Lancaster University

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Student entrepreneur inspired by the North West Enterprise School

01/30/2012 00:00:00
​Student Avi Nandwani says he would never have become an entrepreneur without the help of Lancaster University’s North West Enterprise School for postgraduates.

“I always have several ideas in my head but the school gave me the confidence to do it. That week was a key reason for making me “go for it”. The school said if you have a good idea, why not develop it ? So I did.”

At the age of 27, he now runs his own promotions company offering discounts at restaurants and clubs through a loyalty card.

When he finishes his PhD in technology and communications, he intends to expand his business, with an offshoot already based in India.

He said the experience of testing his ideas out with others at the Enterprise School gave him the push he needed.

“The talks from business people who have reached a certain level helped me think I could do it, and I got the chance to work with people from different backgrounds like chemistry, law, nursing and management.”

The intensive weeklong residential course at a hotel covered topics such as market research, generating and pitching ideas, social enterprise, networking and business planning.

PhD student Shaun Austin said the experience had made him decide to set up a social enterprise to help disadvantaged young people.

“The benefit of the school for me was that it introduced me to things I would never have thought about.  It has planted the seeds in my thinking and I honestly think it will prove to have been an influential experience on my future.”

Research student Angela Carradus said she had gained a lot from the School.

“On reflection I learnt so much over the week away about myself and with regard to the complexities of business start-up and group dynamics. This has been a great help to my research and to be honest my own experience of running a franchise with my husband.”

The 2012 North West Enterprise School is being jointly organised by the University of Liverpool and Lancaster University, where Professor Chris May is Associate Dean for Enterprise at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences .

“In today’s stringent economic environment, do researchers possess the behaviours necessary to get both themselves and their research funded ? Most of them don’t end up in academia so they need to think about other opportunities. We aim to give them an entrepreneurial approach which will enhance their employability and skills.”

This year’s School includes a four day residential, a five week online collaboration and a weekend residential.

Professor May said: “Participants freely create teams and partnerships to solve difficult problems, and create innovative solutions. The problems and activities are drawn from both business and research so as to inspire collaboration, inquiry and problem solving in a real world environment.”

Avi Nandwani said the Enterprise School has benefits for everyone who attends.

“Not everyone has to launch a company for it to be worthwhile because you gain so many skills from the School which are useful no matter what you end up doing.”