‘Inspirational’ was how students described the first Alumni ‘Start Up Stories’ event, when six Lancaster Alumni gathered around for ‘camp fire tales’ with our current enterprising students, to share the ups and downs of turning an idea into a business.

‘…although we had a business plan, it was very ambitious, we did everything wrong. For me, that’s what it is…being an entrepreneur.
As an entrepreneur, don’t be afraid to make mistakes; mistakes are pretty much what it is all about.’
David Guest, Workshop Media

Last year Lancaster University’s Enterprise Team invited our entrepreneurial alumni to join a pilot; a fun and creative event for alumni and students to get together to exchange ideas, wisdom, experience and contacts through a storytelling event, to the magic of live illustration. The first event in the series took place during Global Entrepreneurship week 2014.

Alumni from across the world got in touch via LinkedIn and with so many interesting stories and learning to be shared, the Enterprise Team’s Simon Harrison secured funding from the ‘Alumni Friends Fund’ to run a series of three further events in March, June and November 2015.

David Guest of Workshop Media spoke at the first event in November. David feels passionate about supporting ‘the University's fresh ideas’. The event caught his eye because he says that you can’t learn to be an entrepreneur, other than through the journey you start when you take that step. For David it was an opportunity to share the story of his sheer ‘bloody mindedness’ and ‘meet the bright young minds that I could be collaborating with in the future’.

Former Lancaster marketing student, Gian Fulgoni, enjoyed career success in market research companies prior to the creation of his own business comScore, a global leader in digital media analytics. At the March event, Gian told the story of growing two companies in the USA and taking taking them public with a with a combined market value of $3.5 billion. For Gian the value in getting involved was in helping others considering an entrepreneurial career by providing them with insights based on his own personal experience.
‘ It was a delight to be able to share my story with entrepreneurially-minded students in the hope that I might inspire them or help them in some way’

‘I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for Lancaster. Lancaster gave me the marketing knowledge and credentials that led me to being to be offered a job by a US market research company that brought me to the US. Everything then followed.’

‘Anything is possible if you work really, really hard and have a great team with you. Do something where you think your skills give you a competitive advantage. Hire people who are smarter than you.’

Amanda Brooks of the Enterprise Team said that this has been a popular series of events for the both students and alumni. It was an easy and informal event and we are grateful to our narrators who captured and shared the essence of what it is to be an entrepreneur. The illustrations and highlights will be shared for students through digital media. The audience has grown event on event and we are excited about where this format can go in the future.

The students’ appreciation was clear.

‘Great event, lots of insight, it may take a while to absorb everything from this!’

‘So interesting, loved the diversity of the stories’

If you would like to get involved in future events or mentor an entrepreneurial student on a short term, informal basis, or be featured in our forthcoming Entrepreneur’s Hall of Fame, please get in touch.

The next events in the series on campus are on the evenings of 11th June and 19th November 2015. If you would like to join us in person as a Storyteller, or simply come along to an event please get in touch with us here

You can enjoy the illustrations gallery and some of the stories from the from the first two events here