Enterprise Awards – Call for nominations!

 We need your nominations!

We are currently busy planning for the relaunch of our annual Lancaster University Enterprise Awards. The awards aim to recognise and celebrate the diversity of ways in which students, researchers and alumni have applied their entrepreneurial mindsets, acted as creative-problem solvers and made a genuine impact on the world around them.

The awards seek not only to celebrate the successes but also recognise the journeys and distances travelled to reach those successes -every winner should have a story to tell, which hopefully will help to inspire others to engage in similar pursuits to realise their own dreams and ambitions.

The award ceremony itself is set to take place in December and will involve  a formal dinner attended by various VIPs, stakeholders and of course a number of students. The dinner will be followed by entertainment, and an opportunity to network and socialise.

But now we need your help!

We need your assistance in identifying nominees within the following categories:

  • Student Leader – Individuals/teams with a leadership role on behalf of a segment of the student body e.g. Society Execs, College JCRs, Departmental Reps, LUSU Offices and Student Ambassadors who have demonstrated the application of entrepreneurial behaviours to the realisation of an event, project, activity or other intervention.
  • KE Champion – Individuals/teams who have displayed entrepreneurial behaviours in the undertaking of a Knowledge Exchange Intervention with an external organisation. For example through a Student Consultancy Project, Placement or Internship, KTP or PG Rise project.
  • Impactful Researcher – Early Career Researchers who have translated, or taken active steps to translate their research into sustainable research impact, for example via a licensing agreement, spin-out or other business model.
  • Sustainable Venture – Individuals/teams who have successfully launched a venture that has a clearly identified ‘triple bottom line’ business model, and has demonstrated or begun to demonstrate its viability. Must be formally registered, and trading for a maximum of three years.
  • Organisational Innovator – Individual alumni (up to last three years) who have gone into employment in any role, industry or sector except self-employment, or as a founder member of a start-up

There will also be a ‘bright sparks’ category which will involve the submission of short video pitches for ideas – more details on this category to follow!

Further details on each of the categories and what we are looking for can be found within the nomination form. If you think there is either a team or individual (or maybe you are them!) that fits into one of the categories, please download and complete this nomination form and send it back to enterpristeam@lancaster.ac.uk no later than the 31st of October.

 

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! 

What’s new for 17-18?

If you’ve engaged in Enterprise & Innovation support through us previously, you are probably wondering what’s happened to the Wednesday IdeasLab and Thursday StartupLab sessions.

We found that so many people were bringing new ideas, having just a couple of fixed-time drop-in sessions per week wasn’t giving everyone enough time and space to get the attention they needed

So, this year we’re opening up more slots and letting you call the shots on when they should happen.  We’re still calling them Labs, but there are now lots of different Lab types to choose from.

How does it work?

The idea is simple – we’ll help you put together a personalised development programme and you work through it at your own pace. Whenever you’re ready to work on something new, you book a Lab session and we’ll supply the space, the know-how, the resources, and, where appropriate, bring in like-minded collaborators.

To make this work though, there are a couple of other things that have changed.

  • Firstly, before you start ‘dropping in’, we’ll ask you to register or re-register by completing a short Registration Form so we can get you into the system.
  • Secondly, we’ll book you in for a 1-2-1 chat (called an IntroLab) so we can find out more about you, what you are trying to achieve and what you are looking for right now.
  • Thirdly, we’ll get you underway so you can start putting together your bespoke development programme from our new menu of different Lab types. Regardless of what you are working on or where you are up to, there’ll be something for you.

To get started right away, please complete the Registration Form.

To find out more about Labs, please visit this page.

Global Entrepreneurial Leaders Summit

Live Stream of WildHearts Global Entrepreneurial Leaders Summit

To ‘celebrate the power of entrepreneurship as a force for social and economic change,’ the WildHearts Group host Global Entrepreneurial Leaders Summits, bringing together some of the world’s leading Corporate, Social and Founding Entrepreneurs.

The next summit is being held in London on the 5th of October. The Summit includes sessions on Women in Leadership, Business for Good (both local and global) and Impact-full education. The day includes many inspiring speakers including Elizabeth Nyamayaro, Head of UN’s #HeForShe campaign.

The great news is that you can watch the Summit live from the comfort of your own room on the WildHearts Group Facebook page. It will also be available for catch up following the event.

£10,000 Funding to help the environment

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.

Electric cars will be soon charging while driving!

Wired-up roads are the future, mostly due to Tesla Motors, who triggered the interest in electric cars that this generation feels.

Nikola Tesla, a genius will be not only please but also excited as his enthusiasm towards electrical vehicles has triggerred the interest of many. The wireless transmission of power is the future and is now turning into a reality. From a electric cars mat when you were a child to wiring the most popular roads in Britain, electric cars are certainly on the uprise.

These electric cars are in more demand than ever due to their low local emissions, but they are also known for their expensive prices and not having a long enough driving range. So imagine if you could charge them without a plug in cable, or even while moving.

Technology is advancing at a faster rate than ever with electric tooth brushes and smart phones being charged by being placed on top of a pad. Thanks to this technology, some electric cars are able to be charged by parking on top of charging pads, so that advancement of wire-up roads are closer than ever before! Recent studies show these roads with wireless charging coils are not expensive as you think and that the biggest part of the cost is the construction work itself.

Read our official report here.

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.

 

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.