My Enterprising Week 3- Reflection and Observation

This week has been an opportunity, after the previous hectic fortnight to take in some reading and observation around my world of Enterprise Education.

Before I begin, and to blow my own trumpet, as somebody who hadn’t always fully excelled in academia, I was thrilled this week to receive my first ever Distinction within my MSc, Innovation Management Module.

I am studying this Degree with Edinburgh Napier University, and it was a massive boost to score 80% on this module, coupled with my previous module narrow miss of 69% (70% needed for Distinction, that’s so harsh isn’t it…) from New Venture Planning, this shows my marks are moving in the right direction. It was hugely satisfying to see this result, and the hard work is paying off, completing this Degree with a full-time job and young family hasn’t been easy!

Outside of my own personal work, I have mentioned in previous posts about some of the positive feedback which had come from the recent Young Enterprise UK Start Up Final which I project managed.

Some colleagues from attending institutes on Social Media this week posted pictures of feedback from their own students. This was wonderful to read, that the students value their work and efforts in such high regard. Its never easy working in education but this type of feedback does give you the belief that we do what we do for the right reasons. Look at the comments, how fantastic is that.

A hand written letter from student to a colleague I work alongside from Loughborough College following her Start-Up experience.
A note of thanks from a student at Grimsby Institute to their Ented teacher describing their Start-Up experience. The last sentence seems to sum it up for me.

There has also been this week several observations about opportunities for Entrepreneurial students to involve themselves with, I like to keep on top of these as its value added we can give to our students that we work with.

I often talk about trying to be ‘giving’ with the sharing of information. Look at the Twitter post from a gentleman called Juan Felipe Campos from UC Berkley who has provided a link to his own Google Drive folder of Start Up Resources. I think this is brilliant, it isn’t somebody packaging them up and trying to sell them, its simply the sharing of knowledge. You can find the direct links by checking Juan out on LinkedIn.

I am sure most people reading are fully versed with the Strategyzer website, you will know their love for all things Business Canvas and Lean Start Up. This week I noticed a nice simple table with their thoughts on the key differences between the Business Plan and Business Models. This snapshot is useful, and I think I will include it within a slide for an upcoming Ented session I am running with University of Liverpool MSc International students.

An interesting app which has been launched this week by Intrinsic EU. It claims to be the first European app ever to monitor the entrepreneurial mindset in higher education students, its now ready for testing. I had a quick look at this, and it may well be something you would like to find out more about. You can find more information below.

Another really fabulous website launch that Enterprise Educators and students should take a look at this week is Disciplined I am sure many of you will follow Bill Aulet and will have read his books, this website looks brilliant and will take me some time to run though, its packed with resource, frameworks and video content, its looks really very good indeed. Do take a visit, it could well enhance teaching and learning in the field.

In the spirit of sharing information, if you are a very early start-up or with an existing but not yet trading business there looks to be a great opportunity with Baldwins Kickstart Competition. There are prizes of several thousand pounds available to UK Start-up students aged 18-25. You have until August to get your application in, this could be hugely useful to share with students who you think could be at suitable and what a great financial incentive to move a business to its next level.

Finally, this week I follow a gentleman called Martin Lackeus closely on Twitter. Martin is a Researcher in Entrepreneurial Education at Chalmers University in Sweden. I love his tweets and he provided me with lots to think about. Have a look below at some of Martin’s comments regarding Intrepreneurship and the various definitions around this interesting topic. Intrepreneurship is an area I want to study further, as I believe the students, I am working with can develop this mindset via the programme I run. The definition, however, hasn’t always been easy to explain so I found this most interesting, there are also a selection of books to accompany if you have an interest in Intrepreneurship.

So, that’s my Enterprising Week. Its been enjoyable and always things to read, watch and visit. Thank you for continued support of the Blog. I look forward to writing every week and please do share the link with other educators and students that you think could benefit from hopefully, having a digestible, weekly update of just some of the things going on in the sector. See you next time.

My Enterprising Week 2- Days like this are why we do what we do.

Students from Liverpool Hope University attending Young Enterprise Start Up Final 2019
Video to accompany blog post.

Well this has been some week. Normally I wouldn’t overly focus on my own personal work as I want to share my thoughts on that which is going on around me, but this week I will concentrate the majority of my blog post on the Young Enterprise UK Start Up Final which I led on Wednesday.

I have worked on this project for several years and its sometimes been difficult as to bring Colleges and Universities on board with Enterprise Education. It takes time and perseverance to make the connection and embed our programme into curriculum areas. It also requires generating the confidence of tutors that you know what you are doing and can add value to their work.

This week I led an event at Chessington World of Adventures whereby students from all over the UK came together to compete for The Overall Start Up Company of the Year, and what a wonderful event it was. A company called The Goat Tree from University of Chester, a small co-operative selling Moroccan Argon oil and using profits to generate projects commissioning tutors to teacher traditional Berber women how to read and write were declared the winners, and will now go forward to compete against European counterparts next month in Oslo. What a story for that small group of two students- amazing!

Young Enterprise UK 2019 Start Up Winners- The Goat Tree from University of Chester

I have been with the Young Enterprise organisation for a long time; however those days do re-invigorate you and make you feel proud of your work, and that you genuinely are making a difference to young people. As well as the award winners its actually some of the personal stories you come across which make you feel very humble, and some of the feedback on social media post event makes you consider the journey of some of our students that perhaps have had challenging times. I hope the photographs and video gives you some idea of what I mean.

A Social Media post from a tutor at Grimsby Institute describing his feelings after watching his team perform.
A University of Bolton student describing how Ented has helped him improve his confidence

I haven’t had a great deal of time to do much reading over the last seven days, however, I have for some time been strongly pushing the notion that Enterprise Education doesn’t have to belong only within the Business School. I was really pleased this week to kick off a project which will formally start in September at the University of Liverpool, working through Ented to support Level 5 and 6 Psychology students. This coming year as well as many Business Schools ill also be working with Sports Science and Digital Media, alongside the Psychology School, so things do appear to be slowly turning and this is hugely encouraging.

Lecture one for a new ented project with University of Liverpool Psychology School

This feeling was further demonstrated by a report I saw from the ICA-Edu Colloquium 2019 entitled ‘Let the entrepreneurial genie out of the bottle! How will we stimulate the nascent entrepreneurial skills of our students?’. This again presses home that belief that ented is becoming a more University wide approach and not simply the domain of the Business School.

It probably wouldn’t be a normal week if I didn’t share some link from Teaching They produce such consistently good content and this week is no exception. Take a look at the article ‘Textbooks Don’t Work’, it builds on the foundation belief of David Goobler ‘for most students, we need to shift our focus from what it is we say to what it is they do.’  I couldn’t agree more with that statement, it’s a great article and well worth a read, do share your thoughts.

Finally, from me this week, a resource I really like Fiverr, has several new courses available for freelancers and entrepreneurs. These seem to have been very recently released so I plan to examine these in more detail over the coming weeks. Take a look on the link below:

So that’s it for this week, a lot of images, video and links to share with you. I hope you enjoyed reading and see you next week. Do give the post a share or like on Social Media, I do really appreciate the support and hope the content keeps you interested!


My Enterprising Week 1- Being Busy Doing the things you love.

Accompanying YouTube Video to this post

My Enterprising Week 1

When I began this blog, I wanted to as well as raising thoughts on different aspects of Enterprise Education and Entrepreneurship use my blog as an aid memoir for my own experiences. Do you ever have one of those weeks whereby you feel so much information has entered your brain? Its been an incredibly busy week, so here, in no real order are some of the things which I have noticed over the last seven days in the world of all thing’s Enterprise!

Firstly, last week I submitted my final report for the unit ‘Managing Innovation’ on my MSc Business and Entrepreneurship Degree with Edinburgh Napier University. I have really enjoyed the module and am hoping to score well; I will find out in just under three weeks’ time the results. My report looked at the innovative processes used by British American Tobacco and Philip Morris International in respect to the changing nature of tobacco consumption. It was interesting to study these two giant organisations and hope it will be enjoyable for my tutors to read.

I also had a trip to Chessington World of Adventures as part of my final preparations for an event I am running next week- the Young Enterprise UK Start Up Final- this should be great fun and there are Universities from all over the UK competing to reach the European Final later next month. Chessington have been great to work with and its an inspiring, different venue- something I am keen on for my events- quirky is good! I will post much more about this next week.

Chessington World of Adventures, venue for Young Enterprise UK Start Up Final

Possibly the highlight of my week however was attending a North West schools based enterprise event, although I have been part of literally hundreds of these, when you chat to the young people and they give you their account of how they feel from their involvement has benefited them through Ented it does make you reconfirm the reason why you continue to feel passionate about all of this. Take a listen to some inspiring students who are so passionate about their venture and what they have created, for 16 year old’s to do this, I find to be hugely rewarding.

Students talking about their Young Enterprise Experience at 2019 North West Company Programme Final at University of Lancaster

I also signed up to a couple of opportunities this week which are coming up over the next month- do have a look if they are something you would like to get involved with and both are free!

The first is an online webinar course to be held on 22nd May by the website. This is a virtual workshop regarding ‘4 steps to more engagement’ when teaching entrepreneurship. I really love this website, its so informative and innovative in its thinking- I am looking forward to hearing ideas that I can bring back into my teaching and delivery. You can sign up here if you would like to take part.

The second is an event taking place at University of Buckingham on 28th June- this is EntFest, part of the Peter Jones Foundation. I attended this last year and there were some great workshops and talks, I’ll look to get lots of footage to bring back to the site post event, maybe a picture with Mr Jones to boot! If you would like to attend the link is here.

Finally, three documents / articles to look out for that I found interesting:

Why Europe Matters- Young People’s Feelings about the future. This was an interesting study about those that had and had not partaken in Ented of various forms. One of the findings included those students who have participated in Ented had a better grasp of the advantages of European Integration and would be more willing to work abroad. Let’s hope those opportunities remain open to ALL the young people of Europe. You can see the full study report here.

Building on some of the thoughts I had in a recent post regarding social division within those students competing in Enterprise competitions, there was a respected paper released from the recent European Council Small Business and Entrepreneurship ‘How Social Origins Predict Individual Entrepreneurial Orientation’. You can see an overview of this paper below.

Finally, a tweet and story from FT journalist Sarah O’Connor with the title ‘Can we please stop with this notion that state school kids are being held back by their lack of polish and confidence’. I commented; I would love to hear your thoughts.

And breathe. See you next week.

Ps- if you are on Facebook the social media page for that is now up and running- take a look!

Who inspires you? From a Seth Godin fan.

I think no matter what sector we work within or enjoy being part of we always have people that inspire us.

I have people that I work with, that perhaps don’t know it themselves, but I look at as unofficial mentors, their words, actions and beliefs inspire me to do better and progress myself.

We can also now with the rise of the Internet and the numerous channels available for people to share news and content have those people who inspire us who we have not and may never meet. For me that person would be Seth Godin.

I imagine if you are reading this post and visiting my website you may well be aware of Seth Godin, if you are a student or very new to the sector and haven’t Seth is a 58 year old American author and business founder. The range of topics which he writes about is broad, from marketing and leadership to spreading ideas and adopting change. What makes his work so fantastic in my mind is the accessibility of it, the language is believable and understandable and not wrapped in academic speak which can sometimes be off-putting, this said when you read his work you feel you are being educated and that’s a nice thing to get from reading others thoughts.

I am going to add to my recommended books and podcasts some of his work that I really enjoy. Two books that are simply must reads if you are interested in business start up and entrepreneurship are Purple Cow and Unleashing the Ideavirus. Without giving too much away Purple Cow looks at how you can ensure your company is remarkable and not invisible, it makes you change your attitude to putting time and efforts into projects with are worth your time, not those that will stagnate. Unleashing the Ideavirus on the other hand focuses on the idea of existing consumers being the ultimate sales tool for your products and services rather than businesses spending time and resource selling to consumers. The classic C2C model of selling against B2C. Both are accessible reads and should be in your library.

I would also recommend checking out Akimbo, a weekly podcast delivered by Seth Godwin and Seth’s Blog, over 2 million words on this blog written over many, many years, certainly something to aspire to! I would love to know if any of you have read the latest book, This is Marketing, You can’t be seen until you learn to see. If you have read this and indeed have any thoughts, please let me know?

So that’s a short blog post from me, but taking inspiration from those you have never met, must surely be testament and proof of their effectiveness at promoting their message. If you are interested in the topic areas on my website take a look at all the links, you won’t be disappointed, and I hope he continues to inspire for many years to come.

Have you any thoughts on Seth Godwin and who inspires you?

Enterprise Competitions- Winners and Losers. I need some help.

Accompanying Podcast / YouTube Video

Competitions which ultimately provide a ‘winner’ have been a mainstay of Enterprise Education within the UK and further afield for many years. The premise being that the nature of competition will mimic the future world of the entrepreneur battling to get his or her concept to the front of the queue for consumers. If I win, people must love it!

But are competitions of this type fair? There is an argument to say that those who participate will benefit from the skills and experiences of others around them, that they will be motivated by the carrot of success and the ‘win’, that the motivation comes from the goal of success. However, for every winner of a competition there are of course those that don’t ‘win’, I don’t want to call them losers.  

The skills and experiences one can generate by being part of a competition has undoubted advantages, and to say that those that don’t win, haven’t learnt would be wrong. However, what is the impact on those non winners going forward? For those who don’t experience the glory of be named the winner can that experience have a negative impact and make those students feel less worthy or less likely to engage with Enterprise Education in the future? Could we be perversely be turning students away from enterprise and business start-up?

I work with a great many University students from a wide variety of backgrounds, many students coming from backgrounds where perhaps attending University isn’t the ‘norm’. For some of these students the way that competitions are often judged maybe through formal presentation or pitch, for those students from challenging upbringings their confidence can be a barrier to success, not their ideas.

If success is often determined through confidence, and that confidence has come from a person’s upbringing and previous positive experience, is the playing field level, within such competitions for those that haven’t had that luxury? Indeed, are we increasing the social divide by pitching students against each other when their journeys could be hugely different and reinforcing that which has gone before, again, thus further embedding the ‘winners’ versus the ‘losers’.

I don’t have the answer to this question.

I am actively looking at ways in which the competitions I manage consider the journey as well as the polished conclusion. I would be interested to hear other thoughts upon this, what can we do to make Enterprise competition a fairer space to all? I understand the realities are, life chances are very different, and indeed it’s not fair. To suggest we can change this path with a simple competition is probably naïve, however, I want to challenge myself to be creative and look for other ways to judge success.

This blog post could perhaps move into many areas, those such as University League Tables and other forms of listings or rank, but that’s for another day.

My goal is to get creative and find new ways in which my competitions consider the full journey rather than simply the end shiny polished performance. I think we have a duty to those students to do this. Can you help me?