Funding Update: Nadeem Khan

‘Opportunities don’t happen. You create them.’ – Chris Grosser

Earlier this year, LU graduate entrepreneur Nadeem Khan received funding from the Lancaster University Enterprise Fund to help him attend a People Analytics conference in London, an opportunity which enabled him to network and learn from leading HR practitioners and thought leaders. Here, Nadeem shares an update on what the funding unlocked for him and the opportunities which have arisen since. 

After graduating with honours from the MA Human Resources & Consulting, I was engrossed in academic jargon. With the support of both the Enterprise Team and the Department of Entrepreneurship, Strategy and Innovation at Lancaster University; I audited courses on selling, networking, funding for entrepreneurial ventures, and product and service innovation. Simultaneously, I worked alongside the Enterprise Team at Lancaster University to develop and mature my entrepreneurial idea to set up an HR Consultancy around my research area in People Analytics. The concept materialised with the establishment of Optimizhr Ltd. – a human capital consultancy that offers consulting and advisory services around People Analytics, Talent Strategy and Leadership Development. As an international student, I had now received the prestigious Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa. Consequently, I felt the need to venture out and connect with practitioners and consultants in the industry and learn contemporary best practices around People Analytics. One of the best way forward was to attend Europe’s largest People Analytics conference – People Analytics World (PA World), organised by Tucana. PA World was scheduled to be held in London on April 11 and 12, 2018 and encompassed thought leaders, industry practitioners, consultants and technology companies across the globe sharing their best practices. I discussed this opportunity with the Enterprise Team and I decided to apply for funding (provided by Santander Universities) to help towards the ticket price to attend PA World.

The conference was chaired by IBM’s former Global Director of People Analytics – David Green. Key note speakers included CEO of CIPD, Peter Cheese, People Analytics Directors from Deloitte and thought leaders such as Bernard Marr and Alec Levenson. The cornerstone of the conference was the insights I gained while attending presentations of best practices from industry leaders. I witnessed first-hand how Twitter, ABN-AMRO, Unilever, Nestle, British Airways, Procter & Gamble, Swarovski and Cisco are using People Analytics to drive business insights and performance. The opportunities to engage and connect with these individuals opened new horizons. A key learning from this conference was the increase in the big data and analytics in our lives and business. As intimidating as this may sound, everything we do essentially creates a digital data footprint from our mobiles to our credit cards, thus enabling us to anticipate our behaviour. Hence, experts also shed light on the implications for collecting such data after the GDPR. I also connected to Tucana’s MD, Barry who after our conversation offered me to write blogs for their official website thus, enabling me to share my expertise among Tucana’s community of thought leaders and practitioners.

After returning to Lancaster, I wrote a reflective article – ‘The Business Case for Data-Driven HR’ sharing my insights from the PA World and sent it to Tucana. Not only did they accept my piece but also offered me to write further blogs in an ongoing arrangement to attend future Tucana events and conferences. This arrangement will be reviewed after their next PA Forum conference 2018 with a view for it to becoming an ongoing arrangement in future enabling me to become part of Tucana’s media team and contributors. Each of Tucana’s subsequent events are priced on an average at £1095. This conscious effort has enabled me to not only attend, learn from and network with thought-leaders and industry practitioners but also gain another opportunity to attend PA Forum conference 2018 on a complimentary pass. Prospectively, I hope to present on stage among the ‘Who’s Who’ of People Analytics thought leaders and practitioners at the PA World conferences.

Funding Update: Charles Rogers

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford

Last year, final year BA Hons Management & Entrepreneurship student, Charles Rogers, received funding from the Lancaster University Enterprise Fund in order to develop his startup, Cloudline. Cloudline is an app based platform which enables users to queue for nightclubs, without actually standing in line.  Here he shares an update on Cloudline and what’s changed for him in recent months.

Since the funding a lot has happened for Cloudline. We have been rolling out to The Deltic Group’s clubs. We’ve encountered a few issues along the way but we’ve been able to get around these one way or another. Working with The Deltic Group has attracted the attention of other companies such as Merlin Entertainment who we’re currently in talks with, as well as several airports in Europe. We’ve taken onboard a new team member, Florian Wiedmann, former employee of EY. As of March we have been raising a seed funding round for £250,000, of which we have completed 50% of the round. The money will go towards employing two more programmers, a programmatic marketer and moving the project down to London.

The funding enabled me to draft a terms & conditions document with Stephen Wright from Morecambe’s Wright & Lord solicitors, enabling us to have a legal contract to sign between each business we implement the app with. It also helped us to learn the process of drafting legal documents with a lawyer, a valuable skill for the future. The validation of Santander standing behind this project has also considerably helped gain interest from potential clients and get meetings.

As a result of the above, we have been able to gain confidence from investors to secure funding and I have been able to meet with highly experienced people in the entertainment and app development industries. These factors have all had knock on effects which in turn have lead to more investor interest and further meetings with industry experts to help us refine our product and to explore different potential avenues which this project can go down. As things currently stand we will be moving to London mid June and couldn’t be more excited for the future of this project.

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The Lancaster University Enterprise Fund is available through our partnership with Santander Universities. If you’re interested in applying for a maximum of £500, find out more here

Guest Blog: The Fascinating Trends Revolutionising Healthcare

Final year Lancaster Medical School student, Maria Dobrzynska, writes why she is passionate about innovation in health care and why the future is exciting for health.

Billions of investments in the healthcare industry, including the Health Innovation Campus at Lancaster, are driving advances and transforming healthcare globally. Digital health, artificial intelligence, genomics, personalized medicine and 3D printing are just a few concepts, which are being applied to improve health and healthcare.

As a medical student and a future doctor, I am really excited about what the future holds for patients and healthcare practitioners. For example, it is estimated that five to ten years from now surgical robots will be an average sight in operating theatres and that artificial intelligence will be actively used in radiology departments to aid diagnosis. Experts also predict that, not long from now, pharmacies in hospitals will 3D print personalized medications for patients. Patients’ attitude to digital health technologies is also changing. More and more patients are using apps to prevent and diagnose skin cancer or use AI-powered health companions in their phones to get healthcare advice instead of visiting their doctors. Just recently, we have seen the success story of a patient being diagnosed with a life-threatening condition based on her Fitbit data, which might not have been picked up in time if not for the wearable device.

It seems like the practice of medicine will change dramatically over my lifetime and as a student I see it as my obligation to learn how to best use the novel technologies in medicine for patient’s advantage. Fortunately, more and more healthcare and education institutions are putting innovation at the heart of their actions like Lancaster University with the investment into the Health Innovation Campus. Indeed, it is the multidisciplinary work between clinicians, innovators, academics and businesses, which brings the best and most exciting results; such as a wearable using AI to identify, alert of and track seizures, which was FDA approved only this week.

I am certain that novel technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual and augmented reality, 3D printing and cheap genome sequencing will dramatically change the medicine we know today. In order to drive advances in those technologies entrepreneurs, academics and clinicians need to come and work together. That is why I find events such as the annual WIRED Health conference to be a fantastic educational and networking opportunity for me as a future doctor, but also for anyone looking for the tools and inspiration to tackle the most important challenges of healthcare.

If –like me – you would like to tap into the fascinating trends revolutionizing healthcare check out the WIRED Health 2018 conference and get 20% off all rates with the code LEC20: http://wired.uk/health-lec20 .

Enterprise Awards 2017 in photos

11th December 2017, Lancaster House Hotel.

Congratulations to all the winners, finalists and nominees at this year’s Enterprise Awards 2017!

For those of you who couldn’t make it, the winners were…

Student Leader: Sofia Akel, Racheal Alake, Tolu Adeshina & Georgia Frimpong – Black Excellence Networking Events Team

Knowledge Exchange Champion: Luke Brown

Impactful Researcher: Paul Whaley

Sustainable Venture: Kaizen Academy

Bright Sparks: Raymond Alake

You can view all of the finalists and find out more about the Awards in the booklet below, this can also be downloaded here for easier viewing!

We had a great evening celebrating the achievements of Lancaster students, alumni and staff and would like to wish everyone a healthy and happy new year. See you in 2018!

P.S are you in any of the pictures below? Tag yourself on our Facebook page here

Funding Update: Samuel Bafunso

Samuel Bafunso (MSc International Innovation (Entrepreneurship), 2016) received an Enterprise Funding award for his business, SB Consultancy Ltd. Here he shares his update.

SB Consultancy Limited was founded in 2016.  SB are the initials for the founder (Samuel Bafunso).

SB Consultancy Limited is a management and marketing consultancy. We provide design, digital and marketing services for  individuals and businesses of all sizes. As a company, we help craft digital experiences that combine design, technology and strategy.

The Lancaster-China Catalyst Programme was instrumental to the birth of SB Consultancy Limited. By being a part of a multidisciplinary graduate team which provided support for two different UK-Chinese company collaborative partnerships; I realised and finally articulated my personal mission, which was to help individuals and organisations, do whatever they do, but better.  Whilst in China, I was very fortunate to work with a few successful entrepreneurs and in the process, I developed a number of productive relationships. This put things in perspective for me, and I decided that when I returned to the UK, I would set up my own consultancy, which offers a range of services to small businesses to improve their overall business execution.

After returning from China, I participated in a few UK-China Entrepreneurship and Investment competitions. The feedback which I received from these competitions gave me the much needed confidence to continue with my entrepreneurial journey.

I have worked closely with the Enterprise Team from the onset, and they have helped shape my company into what it is today. The support which I have received from the team has been invaluable; from spending quality time in working through my business model canvas, providing financial support for my business to introducing me to other successful entrepreneurs within the industry.

With regards to the financial support; I received £500 from the Enterprise Fund, sponsored by Santander Universities, which was very instrumental to the growth of my company.  The bulk of the  fund was primarily used to cover transportation costs to meet my first 3 potential clients in London, Leeds and Lancaster. I also used some of the funding to print some business cards for my company which have been useful at various networking opportunities. Being awarded the enterprise fund made life easier for me at the start and I’m very grateful for that support which I received.

I have now worked on over 12 different projects with a range of clients and the business is growing rapidly. I am very excited with the progress so far and also looking forward to the future. I am very keen to connect and work with other entrepreneurs.

I am very passionate about growing businesses so please feel free to have a look on our website or contact us on any of our social media pages to see how we can help you.


Connect with Samuel on social media and online: Website | Facebook | Twitter |

Funding Update: Leon Seefeld

The South Africa Challenge 2017

My name is Leon Seefeld and I am an International Business Management student at Lancaster University. The generous sponsorship of the Enterprise Centre and Santander Universities enabled me to participate in a programme called South Africa Challenge. For two weeks in summer, this programme takes young and passionate people out to the beautiful country of South Africa to develop their leadership and entrepreneurship skills. Through theoretical input and practical experience in the form of social projects, participants grow personally and make a meaningful difference in the townships of Durban, South Africa.

It was an absolutely amazing experience to be exposed to the entrepreneurial environment in Durban. A major part of the challenge consisted of meeting partners and learning about their stories in the space of entrepreneurship. We were able to talk to the Durban Chamber of Commerce, Bizfarm (a company providing entrepreneurial support), Catalyx Consulting (a social enterprise catalysing the CSR (corporate social responsibility) budgets of large corporates and community developing initiatives) and many more. Learning from people who successfully entered this exciting space was truly inspiring.

Through our own project development and implementation, we all were able to learn a lot about how to set up an international project or organisation. Especially the research on a particular issue and the creative collaboration to work out solutions are things that I will benefit from for future initiatives and internationally operating businesses. As previously mentioned, meeting so many partners not only inspired me but also taught me how important reliable business partners on the ground are when setting up something outside of your immediate surroundings.

Since all the people we met are really open-minded and appreciate every outside perspective on the problems that they have been dealing with for a long time, I was able to build a large network of people and contacts that I can refer back to in the future. My work at Enactus Lancaster, dealing with various projects in the space of social entrepreneurship, will benefit from this new network, and even I personally can see myself coming back to Durban and continue working with these amazing people.

But not only my Durban specific horizon was widened during our trip; also, my general entrepreneurial skills like pitching, holding meetings, working with the business model canvas and defining visions and values around an idea were strengthened. I developed both as a person, and as an entrepreneur, and took many more things home than I initially expected. Particularly the early stages of a project and organisation are things I dived deeper into and I worked on my own approach.

Finally, I can say I even refined my knowledge about and view on the entrepreneurial mindset. Whilst creating a workshop for young people to evaluate themselves and decide if they might be an entrepreneur, I did a lot of research. I can now say that I have a clearer picture on what an entrepreneur actually is and what the key characteristics are.

Overall I am really grateful for having had the opportunity to participate in the programme; learning so much about entrepreneurship in South Africa (and in general) and meeting so many inspiring people. I am certain that this experience will play a major role in my future career and engagements. I would like to that the Enterprise Centre for making this possible for me and can only recommend exploring this space to everyone else. This is truly a lesson for life.

An update from Ikigai Factory Ltd

Things have changed for Patrizia, Sebastien & Kyaw (MSc International Innovation, 2016) since they last shared an update following their victory at the 2016 Santander Big Ideas competition. Having established their company Ikigai Factory Ltd earlier this year, the trio have taken part in two startup accelerators and are going from strength to strength. Here they share an update and some valuable advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Our company is called Ikigai Factory Ltd and the flagship product we are developing is called REVR, which stands for real estate virtual reality. REVR is a simple tool to create, manage, view and share virtual property tours. Virtual tours help the property listings of real estate agents become more engaging and compelling. The idea originated from our experience of renting a flat in China from the UK by only looking at photos…. and well, it’s an understatement to say what we saw on the pictures did not reflect at all what we got!

So in February 2017 we incorporated our company with the support of the Enterprise Centre who also helped us with finding an accountant (at a convenient price, which is always important when you are a startup). We also started a 12 week pre startup accelerator in London (FFWD) which was very useful as it gave us guidelines on how to carry out different parts of the business such as, finance and marketing. Also it was a great opportunity to network with experts from different business areas and discuss and get advice from mentors. We worked on different important topics every week and had to present the results in front of other startups which was excellent practice for pitching on stage.

At the same time, we applied for the Barclays Eagle Lab Flight in Brighton, a startup accelerator which gave us access to some funding (always welcome) in the form of an unsecured loan. One of the best parts of the programme was to have office space; it’s not always very productive to work from home. Since there were only seven or eight other startups it was easy and natural to network and we spent a lot of time together and we came to know each others businesses quite well which allowed us to share suggestions, advice and learn from each other.

The programme finished at the end of June. During the summer we decided to hire a freelance senior developer to make progress quickly and have a functioning product as soon as possible. Through the Brighton accelerator we were introduced to a local real estate that since August has been testing our solution; this has been very useful and getting feedback from both the agency and the customers has allowed us to improve our product/service to add genuine values.

Lancaster University was very helpful as we have been introduced to a potential investor from China, and at the same time, LUSU Living has become our customer #1! Since August we have had a fantastic intern working on our social media (thank you Camille!).

It we could give one piece of advice or recommendation to our fellow aspiring student entrepreneurs, it would be to use the resources available at Lancaster University!

So what’s next for us? Our current main goal will be to get on board between 5-10 customers per month, and look for potential investors to develop REVR further and focus on growth and scaling.

If you want to know more about REVR and Ikigai Factory, check out their website here and have a look at their page on our Enterprise Directory.

If you’d like to make the most of the resources and support available at Lancaster, register with us and get started! 

GUEST BLOG: How to price your art

Inés Gregori Labarta is a PhD  student in the Department of English & Creative Language, and an avid doodler and illustrator. Here, she shares what she has learned from working with us at our weekly StartupLab and why she finally feels empowered to put a price on her art.

Original image by Inés Gregori Labarta

As an artist, I find it difficult to put a price on what I produce. First because it’s something intimate, like a part of my body, or a memory. Also, creating equals good mental health for me and it’s, plainly, my source of energy. Creators out there, you know where I’m coming from, right? If suddenly all the papers and pencils in the world were gone and I couldn’t write or doodle, I’d automatically go insane – and start seeing faces in my wall, like the protagonist of The Yellow Wallpaper. On the other side, I’m a terribly perfectionist artist. I haven’t ironed my clothes for years now but let me tell you I get literally sick every time I see the slightest mistake in my piece. Nothing of what I produce resembles the (perfect) ideals I have in my mind.

Because of all this, every time someone asked me how much I charge for an illustration or story I had no idea what to answer. It could be one thousand pounds – considering that I’m selling something unique and original that, in some cases, has taken years to produce. Or I could also give it for free considering it’s not perfect – what’s perfect in life anyways?

Did you have similar thoughts at some point in your artistic career? Art being priceless, way above money and any other mundane nuisances, or not good enough to deserve some cash. To me the turning point was gaining financial independence by working as a content writer in an office. This came with a realisation; work is great because it can give you freedom (unless you have blue blood running through your veins, of course). But you have to like it, or else it may become torture. I hated my work with a passion – the office environment turned me into a caged ferret and being forced to put quantity before quality when performing any tasks made me feel like a fraud. I put up with it, as I still do with many part time jobs, because, well, I need to, but that made me realise that I wanted to make money with something I enjoyed enough to not mind the downsides – and that has to be art.

I find many artists associate genius with poverty and misery – at the end of the day, Vincent Van Gogh never sold but one painting, and Charles Baudelaire and Edgar Allan Poe died penniless. This may be rooted in your subconcious too – it was rooted in mine, at least – but as the writer Carolyn Elliot explains in this interview, you can change that. Art and money go hand in hand and hey, that doesn’t make your art dirty or less real.

Just put it this way; when you walk into Sainsburys to buy a loaf of bread, do you expect them to give it to you for free? And when you jump on the bus to go to Uni or work, do you get offended when they ask you to pay for the ticket? Do you scream at the bartender when he’s trying to charge you for a pint on a Saturday night? We live in a capitalist society – and if you don’t like it you can always burn all of your money and go to live Thoreau-like as Christopher from Into the Wild. Time is valuable, and a limited resource, so why wouldn’t it have a price? An alternative would be exchanging your goods for other people’s goods – for instance, you could try to pay for a meal with a doodle on a napkin… but realistically it would take lots of time and discussion. Money is, on the other hand, an easy way for people to show appreciation for what you do.

And this takes me back to pricing. Shall you charge all or nothing for your art? Luckily, pricing can be resolved in a logical and easy matter, so next time someone asks you how much you charge for painting or writing you can give a quick answer full of confidence – instead of blushing thinking “oh-how-can-someone-pay-for-this” and mumbling a random number. (Yes I’ve been there too). This article by Amanda Brooks from the Enterprise Centre taught me in about twenty minutes how much should I charge for my art and – more importantly – why that particular number and not another. If you want to honour your artistic gift and make it a way of living, check it out!


If like Inés, you find it difficult to know how much to charge for your work, or if you’re looking to start making money from your creative talents, get in touch.

Mastering Value Propositions – a webinar with Strategyzer

Following tomorrow’s IdeasLab (21st June 2017) we will be tuning in to Strategyzer’s webinar, Mastering Value Propositons, celebrating the launch of their new online course.

The webinar, which starts at 4pm (BST), aims to teach participants:

  • how the Value Proposition Canvas can help you to create the value your customer wants.
  • key insights, advice and tips on using the Value Proposition Canvas in your strategy and business discussions or experiments.
  • how the Value Proposition Canvas pairs with the Business Model Canvas and its methodology.

If you’d like to know more about the Value Proposition Canvas, and are free between 4pm – 5pm tomorrow, drop us a line to let us know you’re coming, and meet us in Pod 4, Learning Zone. 

Funding Update: IDDE Ltd

Caleb Adamu and Toby Venning received funding from the Lancaster University Enterprise Fund in 2016 which allowed them to travel across the country and pitch their ideas at national competitions, and meet new clients for their business, IDDE Ltd. Here’s their update.

The Enterprise Team was extremely supportive throughout all our competitions, by helping with business planning and asking the tough questions that friends and family often won’t. On reflection, these types of questions are the ones that reduce mistakes and allowed us to progress further with our business idea.

We co-founded IDDE Ltd after first meeting in 2014 when we both won a £16,000 scholarship to attend Lancaster University for the pioneering MSc International Innovation (Entrepreneurship and Design) in the award winning Management School.

The MSc International Innovation, China Catalyst Programme incorporated demanding UK-China consultancy projects whilst giving us the opportunity to collaborate with Marketers, Engineers, Designers and Computer Programmers. Working for innovative companies gave us direct access to successful entrepreneurs who mentored us through a tough but rewarding two years. Working closely with these entrepreneurs gave us the confidence and insight to realise very quickly that graduate programmes or climbing the corporate ladder was not the career path for us. So we set about making our own future and started planning IDDE Ltd.

Before finishing our degrees we got some experience in the world of entrepreneurship and represented an IP company outside of the programme. We entered three separate UK-China competitions to which we became finalists in all three (HiSTAR Competition, Oxford University; China UK Entrepreneurship Challenge, Lancaster University, University College London; and  Shenzhen Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition, China Britain Business Council). Receiving £500 from the Enterprise Fund meant that we could travel to Oxford and Edinburgh for the finals of these competitions.

Our success in these competitions led to IDDE gaining our first client. Six months later, we have three clients and we are experiencing significant growth. IDDE Ltd is a design and digital agency which focuses on helping other businesses grow using innovative design and digital solutions. We build bespoke web development packages which aren’t for show; their purpose is to generate and convert sales leads. We tie our growth in with our clients’ growth which has resulted in strong and profitable partnerships.

We have a passion for working with entrepreneurs and people who want to establish and grow their business, especially Lancaster students and Alumni. Feel free to get in touch and discover how we can help you.


Check out our work:

www.idde.co.uk

www.amcorresourcing.co.uk & https://www.facebook.com/amcorresourcing/

www.controlledblastingsolutions.co.uk