Entrepreneurial alumni share their Start Up Stories

David Guest

05 May 2015

LUMS alumni have been among those sharing their wealth of experience with current students as part of the University's Start Up Stories events. 

The University’s Enterprise Team invited entrepreneurial alumni to join the fun and creative events, where students, past and present, can get together to exchange ideas, wisdom, experience and contacts.

The pilot event took place during Global Entrepreneurship Week in November 2014, with the storytelling enhanced through the magic of live illustration. 

David Guest of Workshop Media was one of the speakers, recalling his experiences of getting started in business. 

"Although we had a business plan, it was very ambitious. We did everything wrong," he said. 

"As an entrepreneur, don’t be afraid to make mistakes; mistakes are pretty much what it is all about." 

For David, the event was an opportunity to  “meet the bright young minds that I could be collaborating with in the future”.

The second event, held in March, saw a number of alumni sharing their experiences, including MA Marketing graduate Gian Fulgoni.

LUMS alumnus Gian enjoyed career success in market research companies before creating his own business, comScore - a global leader in digital media analytics. He told how he grew two companies in the USA and took them public with a combined market value of $3.5 billion.

For Gian, the value of getting involved with Start Up Stories was in helping others considering an entrepreneurial career by providing them with insights from 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," he said.

"I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for Lancaster. Lancaster gave me the marketing knowledge and credentials that led to me being offered a job with a US market research company, which 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: “The first two Start Up Stories events have been popular with both students and alumni.

"We are grateful to our ‘storytellers’ who captured and shared the essence of what it is to be an entrepreneur. The illustrations and highlights will be shared with more students via 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, with attendees appreciating the diversity of the stories and the insight they gained. 

The next Start Up Stories events, financed by the Alumni Friends Programme Fund,  will take place in the evenings of 11 June and 19 November 2015. If you are interested in attending to share your experiences as an entrepreneur, please complete this online form.

If you would like to get involved in future events, 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 at enterpriseteam@lancaster.ac.uk