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.
Unlock the potential of unused or under-utlised space in your community
Spaces for Change (S4C) is a UK wide programme funded by Young UnLtd. The scheme is looking to fund and support individuals or groups of young people aged 16-24, to start and run social ventures using under-utlised spaces within their community.
Successful applicants are awarded £5,000 of project funding along with a dedicated award manager providing tailored support, cohort support and peer to peer networking opportunities for sharing knowledge and learning.
Expressions of interest can be submitted up until the 13th of November. Successful applicants will be invited to pitch their idea to a panel in January.
Do you have a digital solution to an environmental problem?
Are you aged between 17 and 25? Do you have an idea that could help the environment through digital technology, such as improving energy efficiency, reducing waste or increasing recycling?
If so, this is your chance to apply for up to £10,000 of funding from Environment Now to help make that idea into a reality!
This exciting opportunity from O2’s Think Big will not only provide successful applicants with the money, but also support from the Environment Now team, their own professional mentor and other sustainability partners and industry professionals.
Current applications are open until the 8th of September, however this will be followed by another round of applications, open until October the 27th.
To find out more, watch the video below and visit the Think Big website, where you can also read about previously funded projects.
Got an idea for a product that could improve people’s lives?
Calling all inventors, entrepreneurs, shed-tinkerers, DIYers or life-hackers – if you have an idea for a product which could help improve people’s lives, the Inventor Prize could be for you!
Nesta are launching the prize in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The prize aims to inspire and harness the potential of the UK’s home-grown inventors and stimulate user-led innovation. The prize will support individuals and small organisations to take their innovative products from idea to market.
The deadline for applications is the 22nd of October 2017. In November, a panel of judges will select 10 finalists to receive £5,000 as well as bespoke mentoring to develop their product. Then the overall winner will be announced in September next year, winning £50,000 to make their dream a reality.
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.
Tell your innovation story to win a prize worth £7,500 with Murgitroyd
Innovator Launchpad is a new Facebook community powered by Murgitroyd, one of the largest IP firms in Europe. The Launchpad aims to provide a space for innovators to collaborate, access resources and compete for funding.
If you are a pre-profit business or charity based in the UK, the Innovator Launchpad would like to hear your innovation story as part of their new competition.
The winner of the competition will receive an impressive prize package including:
£2,500 worth of in-kind intellectual property advice
Customised Betabrand Space Jacket
Professional photo shoot
Free publicity, including UK press release and 1-page regional full colour advertisement.
Two runners up will also be awarded £1,000 of in-kind intellectual property advice.
The deadline for you to submit your innovation story is 12pm on Friday the 9th of June. Following submission your story will be reviewed and providing that it is eligible, will be posted on the Murgitroyd Innovator Launchpad Facebook community for public voting.
Win £1,500 and mentoring for your new fine food product!
Inspired by the growing number of new businesses being started by young entrepreneurs, Cotswold Fayre are hosting a competition for young entrepreneurs aged between 18-25 years old who have a new fine food product that they may be looking to bring to market.
You could win £1,500 of funding, a year of mentoring from company Founder, Paul Hargreaves plus help from Cotswold Fayre’s in-house designers to build a strong brand identity.
Young entrepreneurs (18-25) are encouraged to apply now for up to £20,000 with Baldwins Accountants.
Baldwins KickStart Young Entrepreneur Awards is a national competition for young entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business or have recently done so (trading date must be on or after 31st August 2016).
Entrants should submit their details and ideas here. Entries will then be whittled down to ten semi-finalists before three finalists have the opportunity to present their ideas to a live audience at a gala dinner in November at Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham.
The prize includes a £10,000 grant along with £10,000 worth of mentoring and accountancy advice.
Entries close August 31st 2017.
For further information visit the Baldwins Accountants website here.
Up to £50k for university researchers with commercially-promising ideas
ICURe is a collaboration of the SETsquared Partnership, Innovate UK and BEIS, which has been designed to help move ideas and innovation out of universities and into the marketplace, where they will have the greatest impact.
ICURe will fund teams to determine whether there is a market for products or services that utilise their research, and then, where there is evidence of market demand, licence or spin-out the research into a company.
The programme will accept applications for teams based at UK universities consisting of a Junior (early career) Researcher, Senior Researcher (Principal Investigator) and a Business Adviser.