Show us YOUR handshake selfie


Shake Hands and share plans!

Global Entrepreneurship Week is only one week away and we’re using this campaign to show the world that the Lancaster University is a campus of networkers. Give us a hand – share your handshake selfie!

This time next week we will have kicked off festivities with ‘Battle of the Colleges’ and’ Fail Forward‘ the official opening event is  Monday 17th November 6pm – 9pm. Many more activities will be taking place all week, all across campus. Full details on the GEW2014 programme here.

We want to see your global connections and we want to know how events you have attended have helped you meet people,  get inspired, learn new skills and develop your ideas.

Don’t be quiet about it, we want to know who you’ve had great conversations with. Take a handshake selfie and share it on any social media channel using #GEWConnect. We’ll pick our favourite selfies to share at the end of the week.

Youth Business International, organisers or Global Entrepreneurship in the UK are offering a prize for the person that bags the best entrepreneurship handshake selfie shot. Who’s your handshake selfie no.1? Did you catch a Big Fish? Or maybe even a Dragon? From old friends to new connections, tweet your pics!

Booking is on Target Connect. Search under ‘event type’ for Global Entrepreneurship Week 2014.

Why don’t we talk about Failure?

FF LogoAre you scared of trying something new today? What is it and how might you embrace failure to find your true passions?

On Monday 17th November ‘Fail Forward’  is the grand opening event for Global Entrepreneurship Week 2014 at Lancaster University.

Lancaster student Oli Monks is coordinating a showcase of people who have learned from failure and embrace it as an inevitable ingredient of success; in fact the comforting reality is that failure is on route to finding your passions and success in life.

In this post and media clip “Why I Want my Kids to Fail” Alexander Osterwalder PhD, writer and entrepreneur talks about  how failures in his own life turned out to be positive for his development and career.

‘Why don’t we talk about failure?

Everyone has lived it but no one wants to speak about it. We’re ashamed by our past failures and have trained our memory to only retain moments of success. We look up to thought leaders and are inspired by their flawless track record. But should we be? Should we really be inspired by those who deep inside are scared of admitting they’ve sucked at something before becoming masters at it? Should we look up to those who fear to venture into something new because they might fail and look incompetent?

The topic of failure is less of a taboo today though. We’ve embraced the startup mantra of “failing cheap and failing quickly” and have seen communities sharing stories about failures to tap into collective learning at events such as the Failcon conferences. But we are not trained to embrace failure. We’re just barely working on letting go of that fear of looking inept in everyone else’s eyes, and we still don’t know how to teach our kids to fail.

Alex’s failures

Alex mentions he failed to get in McKinsey & Company, a leading consulting firm. He also failed his first year of business school and instead learned about questioning how people think in his political sciences program. Alex learned he didn’t want to be an accountant when he ventured in a nonprofit job in Thailand. These failures shaped what he is today: a passionate thought leader building tools and introducing revolutionary methodologies in the traditional corporate world.

In spite of the success of Business Model Generation, his visual and practical bestseller that stood out in the traditional book market and made more than a million sales, Alex and his co-authors are now taking the risk of failing as they’re trying something completely unseen in the business world: making people use digital tools. With Strategyzer’s upcoming book, Value Proposition Design, Alex and his co-authors want business executives to use strategy & innovation processes through computer-aided design, just like architects and engineers. Value Proposition Design will be the first book to offer online learning, PDFs, exercises, and templates on

Failure helps you find your passion

Are you scared that you might just blow things up if you try, and be judged by others around you? Well, you might actually fail and indeed not look very smart. You might try once, twice, and still fail. But as you learn to accept failure and learn about your own case, you’ll adapt and find something that works, something that you’re passionate about. Striving to find that passion, learning from any kind of experience and taming our fear of failure is how we should teach our kids to fail today.’

Register for the Fail Forward Event at Lancaster University here.

Get Connected schedule for week now live!

One week could change your career perspectives forever!

Get Connected: Global Entrepreneurship Week 2014


Making things happen is so much easier when you’re CONNECTED

If you want to get connected to other people who also want to make things happen, come along to any of the events during Global Entrepreneurship Week and see who you can meet.

Throughout the week you will be able to connect with people:

  • who can connect you to every bit of enterprise and innovation support on campus and beyond (watch this space)
  • from your college to find a winning business solution (more)
  • who can help you get the most from your Lancaster Award (more)
  • who can show you how to earn while you learn as a Freelancer (more)
  • who’ve learned from failure and moved forward stronger than ever (more)
  • who are looking to involve others and achieve more (more)
  • who make social media work for their project or business (more)
  • who want to work in the creative sector (more)
  • who know how to run a business on campus (more)
  • who can help you find office space on campus (more)
  • who can get your hands on technology for innovation (more)
  • to create and develop ideas for business and social enterprise (more)
  • who can provide work experience opportunities while you study (more)
  • who can share their experience through mentoring (more)
  • who will help you let your hair down (more)
  • who can refine your creative problem-solving skills (more )
  • who can help you turn your idea into a business or social enterprise (more)
  • and form a team to face the challenge of Google Start Up Weekend (more)

GEW Timetable (RGB)

Click thumbnail above to view full schedule, or click here to download PDF (2MB).

Registration via TARGETconnect (follow links above).

To find all events for the whole week, search for Global Entrepreneurship Week 2014 in Event Type on TARGETconnect.

Sign up to our mailing list to be the first to know when the schedule is announced.

Building Social Enterprises Workshop

What is social enterprise?

B&SDS 0311

How will my business impact on society? How do I make my business sustainable? If you want to find out, come to Management School Lecture Theatre 6 on Monday, the 3rd of November, at 6 PM!

This evening’s workshop will explore issues around social entrepreneurship, social enterprise and the social impact of business. Dr. Matthew (Matt) MacDonald from the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development will lead a discussion and some workshop activities around social enterprises and will talk about his experiences as a social entrepreneur, including the creation of a number of new businesses in the Lancaster area in the social and creative sectors.

All followed by pizza of course!

Find out more on Facebook

This event is part of the LUMS Societies’ Week series of events, so make sure you check out the other events provided by LUMS Societies!”

When I Grow Up…


When I Grow Up… The organisers of the North West Women’s Enterprise Day are inviting women to share their stories in a short phone video clip to help inspire future women entrepreneurs.

‘Something happened recently which made us take a sharp intake of breath. Young people aged 16 to 24 had been surveyed and asked to name the entrepreneurs they admire. We scanned the list looking for the women they’d chosen and found…absolutely none. We were shocked.

Everyday we meet incredibly talented, dynamic and inspirational women entrepreneurs – each and everyone of you! So why is it that this group of young people didn’t immediately think of people they know? This set us thinking. What could we do to help young people see the diversity of women entrepreneurs here in the North West? Could we inspire them to think that could be me if I want it to be? Could we inspire each other?

And it struck us that the answer was simple – ask you to share your stories!

So that’s what we’re asking you to do. Whether you have your own company or you’re an enterprising woman working for someone else – simply record a short video clip on your phone (30 seconds to a minute would be great) and share with us:

  • What did you want to be when you grew up?
  • What are you now?
  • How did you get to where you are?
  • What do you love about what you do?

We’d also love to hear from young women and girls who are yet to embark on their careers. So if you’re a nana, mum, auntie, sister or friend to a young person we’d love a video clip from them that tells us what they want to be when they grow up and why – do remember to get their parents’ permission first!

Once you’ve recorded your video clip then please use share it with us through dropbox – email the link to – if you’re not familiar with dropbox then simply email Sophie and she’ll send you some simple instructions (it’s free and really easy)

Use the hashtag #whenigrowup to be inspired by everyone’s videos and join the conversation:

As a thank-you for helping us with this, every video you share with us via Dropbox will give you an entry into our prize draw to win 2 tickets to next year’s event. And if you’re coming to this year’s event we’ll give you a bonus entry too – so if you haven’t booked your ticket now’s the time to do so! The prize draw will be made at this year’s event during the Welcome Session.

We can’t wait to see your videos!’

North West Women’s Enterprise Day is part of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2014 (GEW2014) . For details of whats going on at Lancaster University for GEW2014 please visit our website pages


Thrive! Introduction to Social Enterprise

[CPMV_CALENDAR view=”1″]Thrive!

Introduction to Social Enterprise: For those thinking of setting up a social enterprise, and existing not for profits that want to become a bit more enterprising.

Tuesday 21st October, 10am-4pm

at The Cornerstone, Sulyard Street, Lancaster, LA1 1PX, United Kingdom

Free to Lancaster District ‘not for profit’ organisations

Thrive! will help you and your organisation become more sustainable, become less reliant on grant funding, and so offer a better service to your community.

SE workshop

Covers techniques used by successful social enterprises in an understandable and relevant way. Practical and high quality training, that helps you understand the culture and practise of social enterprise. With Thrive! you can help make your organisation flourish too. Suitable for those uncertain about what ‘becoming more enterprising’ might mean for their organisation.

Using short presentations, discussion groups and practical exercises, it’s an opportunity for lots of networking with people with a similar outlook to your own. You will take away our practical workbook, designed to help you plan a new social enterprise product or service.


For more information visit the Shared Future website.

Daredevils vs. Tweakers: Entrepreneurs and Risk


Conventional wisdom paints entrepreneurs as daredevils or wildcatters.  Christopher Mirabile asks whether it is time to expand our thinking about the true entrepreneurial traits that lead to start-up success.

What surprises many is that gigantic appetite for risk is nowhere on my list.  Conventional wisdom paints entrepreneurs as daredevils or wildcatters.  Iconoclasts. In Why Great Entrepreneurs Take Risks and Get Fired Ben Smith claims that thinking differently, taking risks and being unafraid of failure and getting fired from conventional jobs are the essence of entrepreneurship:

…entrepreneurs get fired because they: Take risks the rest of us think are nuts. If they don’t they aren’t going to win; See things no one else does. If everyone did, they would be doing them; Break the rules–many times they don’t “get” why the rules exist in the first place; Are often more sure than they are right. Most importantly, though, they get fired because they don’t care.  I have never met a great entrepreneur who was afraid of failure…

Does this sound right?  Not in my experience.

Smith is correct that entrepreneurs need to be original thinkers and see things others don’t.  They must have a strong bias for action.  They need to be skeptical about rules and unorthodoxy in order to visualize different ways of doing things.  They cannot be afraid of failure.

But being headstrong, impulsive and having a massive appetite for huge risks does not make a great entrepreneur.  Entrepreneurship is not about solitary lightning bolts of inspiration.  Innovation and non-linearity will necessarily be involved as critical parts of the ultimate solution, but in my experience great entrepreneurs don’t blindly jump into untested, unconnected unrelated business spaces with only a wish and a prayer.

Successful entrepreneurship requires a starting point.  Converse to the “wildcatter” image of a speculator blindly drilling with no idea what is down there, many entrepreneurs are masters at collecting data, absorbing advice and re-envisioning the status quo by synthesizing disparate pieces and parts into totally new forms.  They are pragmatic masters; incremental in their approach.  They chisel away at an idea with determination until what’s wrong is gone and what’s left is something new and right.

Malcolm Gladwell captured this notion in a controversial piece entitled: “The Tweaker–The Real Genius of Steve Jobs.” Gladwell looks at the question of why the industrial revolution began in England rather than, say, France or Germany.  His conclusion, based partly on a study by Ralf Meisenzahl and Joel Mokyr, is that England had a human capital advantage: specifically, more “remix artists”, whom Gladwell and the authors of the study call “tweakers.”

…Britain dominated the industrial revolution because it had a far larger population of skilled engineers and artisans than its competitors: resourceful and creative men who took the signature inventions of the industrial age and tweaked them–refined and perfected them, and made them work…

What Gladwell observes about Apple founder Steve Jobs is that Jobs was less of an inventor, and more of a tweaker:

Jobs’ sensibility was editorial, not inventive. His gift lay in taking what was in front of him–the tablet with stylus–and ruthlessly refining it.

There are many echoes of this in what Eric Ries calls “lean start-ups”. In his book, he defines these as companies that work quickly and cheaply to ship a “minimum viable product” as rapidly as possible, then tweak and reiterate based on market feedback.  This reduces time and money spent on products which aren’t going to work.

Careful protection of scarce resources?  Not exactly the behavior typically associated with massive risk-taking.  Which gets me back to the main point of contention I have with Smith’s definition of an entrepreneur in his otherwise excellent piece.

Unlike Smith, my angel investing experience hasn’t demonstrated that entrepreneurs are massive risk-takers.  Instead, it’s careful calculators who are more common than bold visionaries.  And people with a short attention span need not apply; tending to countless cycles of revision is a significantly harder job. Entrepreneurs need to be gifted at reading and synthesizing data and noticing signs others don’t see, hear, or take note of.  They look at things in ways others aren’t.  They are confident in their bold choices because most are based on hard-sought, well-filtered and critically deduced hunches.

This notion is illustrated well in another Gladwell piece, The Sure Thing–How Entrepreneurs Really Succeed.  By deconstructing some of the mythology of Ted Turner, he demonstrates that great entrepreneurs are the opposite of huge risk-takers. Instead they excel at hedging risk well.  The Sure Thing cites a study by French scholars Michel Villette and Catherine Vuillermot which looked for patterns in business success, such as buying from people who undervalue assets, or selling to people who over-value them.  What they found was that entrepreneurial risks are not wild bets based on random chance; they are calculated risks that have been hedged by an insight or informational advantage.

The truly successful businessman, in Villette and Vuillermot’s telling, is anything but a risk-taker.  He is a predator, and predators seek to incur the least risk possible while hunting.

Great entrepreneurs will always have to place bets. And, each of these bets will put investor capital at risk. However, what many investors and entrepreneurs alike both forget, is that behind all the risk taking and swagger, the truly great entrepreneurs are the predators smart enough to stack the deck in their favor before betting even begins.’

Protecting 3D designs

The Star Wars Stormtrooper helmet caused a famous dispute between a designer and business owner. Photograph: Reuters/ Steve Marcus

The Star Wars Stormtrooper helmet caused a famous dispute between a designer and business owner. Photograph: Reuters/ Steve Marcus.

The Intellectual Property Act 2014 came into force this week to simplify the process for protecting 3D designs and put design rights on an even footing with copyright and trademark.

The Guardian’s Guy Wilmot explains what it means for small business:

‘The Intellectual Property Act 2014 came into force this week, and it has significant implications for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

Design Rights

One of its objectives was to make the design rights system more user-friendly. Some of the most important changes in the act deal with design right protection. Design rights protect original 3D designs, which are not covered by copyright, trademarks or patents. They are particularly useful for creative industries in sectors such as furniture, home wares, packaging, footwear, architectural features and other 3D objects.

Any small business that has developed, or is promoting, a 3D design should think about design right protection. The recent Trunki case is a great example: if Trunki had not protected the design of its children’s suitcase with a design right it would have struggled to enforce intellectual property: trademarks would protect the Trunki brand, copyright would protect the surface design on the case and a patent might protect a unique technological feature (for example, a new locking mechanism) but only a design right would protect the shape of the case itself.

Design rights proceedings can be costly, and many small companies are keen to avoid throwing away good money on litigation, which is likely to be fruitless. A new service will be introduced giving parties a right to obtain a non-binding opinion from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). If a business has a registered design that is challenged as being unoriginal, then the business with the registered design can ask the IPO for its view before going to court.

Infringement of a registered design is now a criminal offence, bringing design rights into parity with copyright and trade marks. A small business that has a registered design will be able to report those who are producing or selling “knock-off” designs to the police, as well as pursuing its own action.

Another important change, and one that may set a trap for some businesses, is that when a business commissions a design from a third party, the designer will own the design right intellectual property (IP) rather than the business that has commissioned the work. A business that pays a designer (who is not an employee) to develop a product will not actually own the design unless this is specifically agreed.

Disputes between designers and owners do arise, the most famous recent example being over the Star Wars Stormtrooper helmet. Andrew Ainsworth, who was part of the original design team, sold reproduction helmets to the public and eventually prevailed over Lucasfilm when the supreme court of the UK agreed that the helmet was covered by design rights, which had expired, not by copyright.


Patent owners will be able to include a website address on patent pending or protected products rather than having to specify the patent number. The IPO will also have the power to revoke patents that are clearly invalid.

Thoughts for SMEs

For small businesses, the main issue is that ownership of IP in any commissioned work should be clearly agreed in writing in advance. The new act should bring into focus the importance of design rights, especially for SMEs. Designs are often overlooked in favour of the more well-known IP rights – trademarks, copyrights and patents.

Only a design right can effectively protect a 3D design. Unlike registration of a patent, which can sometimes be a lengthy and costly process, registration of a design right is usually relatively quick and inexpensive.’

Guy Wilmot is a partner in the corporate and commercial team at Russell-Cooke LLP



Google Start Up Weekend

Google article

Lancaster is delighted to host the first Google Start-Up Weekend as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2014.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback. Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups.

The event will run from 21st to 23rd November.


Click here for more information and sign up to our mailing list for the latest news in your inbox.