Team Poslat funding experience
In July 2016, IT, Management and Organisational Change masters students Kennedy Simutowe & Oyinda Oludipe applied for a funding award for their business idea, Poslat. They tapped into the Enterprise Fund to pay for their travel and accommodation at the Histar competition semi finals in Oxford. Here, they share their experience of the day and what opportunities they were exposed to by attending the semi final.
The Histar Competition 2016 was receiving entries up to 10th June, for startup ideas and big idea submissions.
Under the big ideas entries, we participated by submitting our innovative shipping solution, Poslat. On 9th July 2016 we were elated to learn that our proposal had been accepted to the semi finals, which included an entrepreneurship and business bootcamp at Oxford University.
In the run up to the Histar competition, we had also consulted with the Lancaster University Enterprise Centre (LUEC) from whom we received invaluable advice, mentoring and support for our idea. A few days prior to the Histar bootcamp, we were privileged to have an extensive session with the LUEC team with whom potential issues to do with the Poslat idea were discussed, including cross border movement of goods, customs and security. The lean development approach was suggested for Poslat. Lean development involves identifying the problem that needs to be solved and then developing a minimum viable product to begin the process of learning the customer’s requirements as quickly as possible. In the same session, the Poslat business model canvas was developed and analysed. On Saturday 16th July, we travelled to Oxford with all arrangements provided for and well facilitated by LUEC.
In the morning sessions, we pitched the idea behind Poslat to the Histar judging panel who were very intrigued and interested by the solution. Our 11 page Powerpoint slide was effective and summarised the entire proposal. During the pitch battle and mentoring in the afternoon sessions, we received feedback on the innovative Poslat solution to do with:
- Revenue model
- Unique selling proposition
- Trust, security, customs and legal considerations.
Other activities at the event included business lectures on embracing innovation, management strategies for startup companies, intellectual property, engaging the Chinese market and accessing Chinese investment. The business discussion panels featured interactive question and answer feedback from experts. As the Poslat team, one of the questions we posed was ‘how well are Chinese investors receiving disruptive business models (such as AirBnB, Uber) founded on the sharing economy concept?’ to which the answer was very encouraging; many investors are ready to support ideas and startups of all kinds, especially disruptive ones, as long as they are well thought out and hold promise for meaningful returns in the long run.
A networking lunch was also held and this provided an opportunity to exchange ideas with and received ideas from some of the business experts and mentors.
Overall, the Histar semi finals were well organised and delivered more insights on entrepreneurship and business development for our team. We made friends from all over the UK and exchanged contacts with potential business partners for the development of the Poslat shipping idea. We are confident that based on our innovative solution and the effective business pitch presentation, we will be announced as winners in the final stage on 20th August 2016.
Following this blog piece, Kennedy and Simutowe were shortlisted for the competition final in August… congratulations guys!
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