Ikigai Factory Awarded Duke of York Young Entrepreneur Awards

 Congratulations Ikigai Factory!

Congratulations to International Innovation graduates, Kyaw, Patrizia and Sebastien of Ikigai Factory limited who were awarded Duke of York Young Entrepreneur Awards last month. The Enterprise Team nominated Ikigai Factory in recognition of their hard work and success developing and taking their product REVR to market. Launched in 2017, REVR is a virtual reality solution that allows estate agents to view, manage and share virtual property tours; improving the viewing experience for customers too busy or remote to easily visit properties.

The team have written a short account to share their experience from the presentation day, where they were presented with the awards by the Duke of York himself.

In the morning of the 9th July before the ceremony we had the chance to meet with our mentor from LUEC, it was a good opportunity to catch up and to prepare for the event. At about 1pm we moved to the Buckley Innovation Centre at Huddersfield University where the other entrepreneurs from different universities from the North of England were. After setting up our stand we had the opportunity to network during lunch with the other students/entrepreneurs, and found the potential for future collaborations. Our solution also caught the attention of University representatives and a photographer present that day.

HRH presented The Duke of York Young Entrepreneur Award to the ten companies there, and at 2pm the Duke arrived and went around to the stand of each company, we were able to present our product and answer his questions regarding REVR. Meeting the Duke of York and discuss with him about REVR it was a great experience! One wisdom that the Duke shared to all young entrepreneurs resonated with us. He said “No plan survives the first contact with the enemy”.

We were honoured to be presented with the award by the Duke of York in person, this could not have been possible without the LUEC team that supported and is supporting us in our start up journey.

To read more about their story and check out their product, visit their website or their page on our Enterprise Directory.

You’re invited to the Velo Holidays Launch!

Be part of the launch of Dan Ghita’s business.

From student to business owner – Dan Ghita and the story of finding your calling through people.

Dan Ghita is a Lancaster University first degree graduate with an interesting story behind becoming a business owner. Having moved to the UK 4 years ago, he has gone from working for IBM as a salesman to crossing Europe on his bike, and most recently starting a cycling tour business. Join him to celebrate the launch of Velo Holidays and to hear how people drove him to become an entrepreneur.

Date: Monday 16th of July

Time: 3-5pm

Location: Lancaster University Campus, Charles Carter Building, Room A15 – LA1 4YR

Parking: Visitor Parking G – by the Management School

Food: Traditional Romanian Cuisine and drinks included.

Special on the day discount for all participants to any cycling tours provided by Velo Holidays! 

If you would like to attend the launch please register here.

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

Entrepreneurial Alumnus Stephen Moore

Where they are now…

Stephen Moore graduated from an MA in Human Resources and Consulting in 2013. Since then, Stephen has started Transform2Succeed; working as a professional coach, Stephen helps client’s to realise and achieve their true potential.

Stephen is now an accredited mBIT (Multiple Brain Integrating Techniques) Master Coach, running regular courses. mBIT is an neuro-science based approach to coaching which acknowledges the existence of three brains – the head, the heart and the gut.

You can read more about Stephen’s Startup Story here.

Lancaster Alumnus opens Google-style office in Preston

Antony Chesworth opens £3.5m Google-style office

Antony Chesworth (Computer Science, 2001) is founder of Lancashire based eCommerce giant, EKM.com. The award-winning software company have recently moved into their new Google inspired 23,500 sq ft head office space in Preston. The new office is the result of almost 4 years of designing, planning and construction. It comes complete with state-of-the-art office tech, a gym, rest and relaxation areas and a slide, with the aim of making work more enjoyable! The office space is setting the company up for significant future growth.

Read more through  Steps – the Lancaster Alumni magazine’s webpages.

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 |

Apply for free office space on campus!

Mind Your Own Business

Furness College’s ‘Mind Your Own Business’ scheme offers an entrepreneurial individual or team of students access to a dedicated office space, for use over the duration of a term. The space includes free use of a Mac computer.

Applications are welcome from individuals/groups of students from any college who are looking to develop or start a new commercial or social enterprise. Each term, Furness College holds a call for applications from interested students for the subsequent term. If students wish to use the space for more than one term, they will be required to reapply. Candidates will be invited to an interview to present their business ideas in week 10.

Current/previous occupants of the space have included Charles Rogers, founder of Cloudline queuing app and semi-finalist in this year’s Santander Entrepreneurship Awards and also, the Ikigai Factory team.

Applications close on the 17th of November at 3pm (download application form). If you have any further questions get in touch with the team in Furness College: furnessoffice@lancaster.ac.uk.

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! 

Santander Entrepreneurship Awards Semi-Finals

Santander Awards Semi-Final Update

This week, Lancaster University’s Santander semi-finalists traveled to Northumbria University to pitch their ideas in the North & Ireland Semi-Final.

Charles Rogers pitched his virtual queuing app first in the pre-revenue category followed by Ze and Adam of Kaizen Academy in the post-revenue category. Both delivered excellent, well prepared five minute pitches which were followed by a grilling from the panel.

 

The results were announced on the day, unfortunately amidst very tough competition neither made it through to the final. However, as winner’s of the People’s Choice Vote, Kaizen Academy have been selected to attend the forthcoming accelerator week and have also be awarded £500 of funding. Both Charles and Kaizen were a credit to Lancaster –  we would like to thank them for all of the hard-work they put into the competition. I think would agree that it was a great day and a lot can be taken away from the experience.