Surrey Entrepreneurs - The inspirational story of a student-led society.
Text of Surrey Entrepreneurs
A story ofentrepreneurshipwhy not :)
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” - Steve Jobs.
01 NETWORKING FORMED THE IDEA OF STUDENT LED ENTERPISE
We sat down and highlighted that there was a real need for the youth of today to become inspired and make a positive impact in the world. Entrepreneurship and using business as a force for good offered a solution for creating jobs, wealth and addressing global challenges. We then set about creating a mechanism in which students at the University of Surrey could develop critical skills, strong networks and a proactive attitude. We wanted to add value to the graduate producing university model, by structuring an entrepreneur enabling scheme in “Entrepreneursity”. Surrey Entrepreneurs was born.
A vision to develop world changing people.
02 SALES PROJECTS EVENT PROJECTS BEGINNINGS OF A BRAND EARLY AWARD
» Surrey Entrepreneurs ran a number of projects in order to generate business sales skills and ge-nerate revenue. The students enjoyed the experience of turning £100 into £200 through doghnut and smoothie sales.
» With no funding avai-lable students had to organise an event project, capitalising on Valentines day during that month students organised a speed dating event where 40 students attended paying a £5 entrance fee.
» As a result of further micro projects the Surrey Entrepreneurs were able to fund the development of its first stage of bran-ding and presence online.
» As a result of the early stage activity NACUE recognised that the spirit shown by the members and committee was highly commenda-ble when compared to other societies nationally.
SURREY ENTREPRENEURS INITIAL STEPS.
SURREY ENTREPRENEURS INITIAL STEPS.
03 RESEARCHING BRAND BUILDING
SUMMER SPENT IN THE DARK RESEARCHING STUDENT ENTERPRISE.In order to progress the Surrey Entrepreneurs it was clear that we needed to highlight best practise from leading organisations across the world. We looked at a number of non-profits, higher education institutions and student run societies collecting various information that was relevant to Surrey. A long period of time was spent before the start of the 2010/2011 academic year to ensure planning was in place to maximise impact. Further tools and methods were gathered to make daily operations easier and more professional, something that was crucial to our brand.
BUILDING A BRAND AND ONLINE PRESENCE.
During that summer of planning we needed to construct a website and brand that fitted our message. We spent over three months getting the website to the stage that you have seen previously. The website has a variety of tools that can be utilised by the community in order to progress ideas. Additionally we wanted to gauge the interest of our entrepreneurial message and set up Twitter and Facebook accounts. As a result we now have over 16,000+ twitter followers and 480+ Facebook fans.
ALL THE SUMMERS PREPERATION MEANT SURREY ENTREPRENEURS GOT OFF TO A FLYING START.
AT THE UNIVERSITY OF SURREY FRESHERS FAYRE THERE WAS AN OVERWHELMING INTEREST WITH OVER 500 STUDENTS REGISTERING TO PARTICIPATE IN ENTERPRISE. THROUGHOUT THE YEAR WE CONSISTENTLY SAW A VARIETY IN INTEREST ACROSS FACULTIES AND DEGREE STAGES, WITH AN END OF YEAR MEMBERSHIP BASE OF OVER 850.
THROUGHOUT THE YEAR THE SURREY ENTREPRENEURS HOSTED A NUMBER OF EVENTS. SIX GUEST SPEAKERS ATTENDED THE UNIVERSITY WITH OVER 400 ATTENDEES IN TOTAL. ADDITIONAL-LY 14 WORKSHOPS WERE CONDUCTED WITH AN AVERAGE ATTENDANCE OF 25 PER SESSION.TRIPS TO THE PREMISES OF ORGANISATIONS WERE ALSO CONDUCTED TO SHOW BUSINESS IN ACTION.
AT SURREY TWO COMPETITIONS WERE HOSTED THROUGHOUT 2010/2011. THE FIRST ONE WHICH WAS THE SANATANDER SANDPIT, WHERE STUDENTS HAD TO FORM TEAMS OF AT LEAST FOUR AND CREATE A THREE MINUTE VIDEO ON INCREASING COMMUNICATIONS BETWEEN BUSINESS AND UNIVERSITIES, THE WINNING TEAM RECEIVED £1000. THE SECOND WAS “PITCHING FOR PROJECTS” WHERE TEN PROJECTS PITCHED TO A PANEL OF JUDGES IN SEARCH OF FUNDING. A TOTAL OF £6000 WAS GIVEN TO THREE PROJECTS.
05ENTREPRENEURSITY Pitched to the University of Surrey.
AS ACTIVITY DEVELOPED THERE WAS REAL NEED FOR A LEGAL ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE.
AS ACTIVITY DEVELOPED THERE WAS REAL NEED FOR A LEGAL ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE.
Within the university we were interested to identify if there would be interest in developing the enterprise community.
We rapidly discovered strong support from Director Keith Robson and his department Research and Enterprise
Support. As a result they provided resources for Surrey Entrepreneurs to facilitate workshops and competitions.
As activity began to expand there was real need for the creation of an independent legal entity. Directors of the
University in; RES, Alumni and Corporate Services expressed support for a team of students to operate Surrey
Entrepreneurs commercial activity in a spin out company across the term of a placement year. The team seized the
opportunity by widening initiatives to lay the foundations of a pioneering year.
Gaining University Support.
06 MICROSOFT TRANSFORMERS & RECTIFIERS
BUILDING LINKS WITH BUSINESS
ENGAGING WITH THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY.
ENGAGING WITH THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY.
HOSTED MICROSOFTS PDC10 AT THE SURREY CAMPUS.
Surrey Entrepreneurs were awarded the project of delivering Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference in October 2010. Surrey was one of 6 Universities in the country that were selected after NACUE coordinated the project, and as a result Surrey received £1000 for the operation. Out of a requested 150 attendees there were 220 registrations.
TRANSFORMERS & RECTIFIERS DONATE £10,000 FOR A STUDENT START UP FUND.
Transformers & Rectifiers have kindly donated £10,000 to the Surrey Entrepreneurs for the purpose of a student business seed fund. This fund is not designed to be a grant but rather a loan payment that does not have to be paid if the venture is unsuccessful, but will request a funding contribution from successfully supported projects, ensuring the opportunity to fund future student businesses. As a result of a government grant the fund has received an additional £5,000 bringing the total funding pool to £15,000. Furhtermore as part of our relationship with T&R and our annual hospitality we hosted 60 of our closest stakeholders at Ascot Racecourse for the day.
At Surrey Entrepreneurs we recognised the need to develop our source of income. As entrepreneurs we did not feel that sponsorship support was the direction we wanted to pursue in future. As a result we attempted various projects to highlight possible ventures that students year on year could adopt. The first of which was consulting. Guided by a professional consultant we ran a project for YourSanctuary which is a domestic abuse charity in the local area. The organisation wanted to take a proactive approach and Surrey Entrepreneurs developed a number of ideas on how to do so.
ROOM 11FOCUS GROUP.
Offering focus groups for organisations became a very suitable product within the student market. With the access to large bodies of students Surrey Entrepreneurs could guarantee high numbers of participation in sessions while allowing insights into the future generations. Room 11 contacted us to test their new business concept and required twenty five students to complete their product feedback. “The evening proved an overwhelming success, with some of the materials being heavily re-worked as a result.” - Jason McEachran, Room 11 Managing Director.
07 INTERNSHIPS PLACEMENTS
» The Surrey Entrepre-neurs presented a number of internship opportunities for members. With two students contributing to two organisations.
» Two placement opportunities were also highlighted for the Engineering Department at Surry. Sponsor, Transfor-mers & Rectifiers were open to taking on students for a year to monitor their skills.
08 BIS MCKINSEY & COMPANY NACUE UNIVERSITY OF
» Surrey Entrepreneurs were
invited with NACUE to meet
Minister Mark Prisk and his
advisors to discuss the
state of student enterpri-
se. BIS commented that
“Surrey is an exemplar of
the type of enterprising en-
vironment we are seeking
» Mckinsey & Company
requested the advice of
the Surrey Entrepreneurs
President for their latest
project. Entrepreneur First
will be a new scheme
that is free for a number
of graduates from UK
universities. The initiative is
backed by Number 10 to
create the next generation
of large organisations.
» Surrey Entrepreneurs have
engaged with NACUE on
a number of levels. Sup-
porting the development
of the South East region
along side taking a seat at
NACUE’s student advisory
board meetings. While
participating in the majority
of NACUE events.
» The University of Surrey
have been very open to
new ideas that encourage
and promote enterpri-
se within the university
and beyond. Alongside
requesting the services of
student entrepreneurs on
ADVISING KEY ORGANISATIONS “Surrey is an exemplar of the type of enterprising environment we are
seeking to create” - Mark Prisk, Minister for Business and Enterprise.
“Surrey is an exemplar of the type of enterprising environment we are seeking to create” - Mark Prisk, Minister for Business and Enterprise.
THE ACTIVITY OF THE SURREY ENTREPRENEURS AND SOME OF OUR MEMBERS WAS RECOGNISED AND REWARDED.
NACUE’S PRESIDENT OFTHE YEAR 2011.
CAMERON WILSON ACCEPTING HIS PRESIDENT OF THE YEAR AWARD 2011 AT NACUE’S LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE. THERE WERE 150 ATTENDEES FROM ACROSS 90 UNIVERSITIES. IT WAS A GREAT MO-MENT FOR SURREY AFTER RECEIVING THE HIGHLY COMMENDABLE AWARD IN THE FIRST YEAR TO THEN GET THEIR PRESIDENT RECOGNISED FOR ALL THE HARD WORK THAT HAD BEEN PUT IN.
SETSQUARED ENTERPRISE CHAMPION 2011.
CAMERON WILSON WAS AWARDED THE SETSQUARED ENTERPRISE CHAMPION AWARD FOR 2011. THIS WAS DOWN TO THE WORK THAT HAD BEEN PUT INTO THE SURREY ENTREPRENEURS TO BUILD THE ENTREPRENEURIAL COMMUNITY THAT ENGAGES STUDENTS AND BUSINESS TO CREATE OPPORTUNITIES.
BEST UNDERGRADUATE ANDPOSTGRADUATE START-UPS. AS WELL AS OVERALL WINNER.AARON AND GEORGE ARE TWO PHD STUDENTS IN COMPUTER SCIENCE WHO STARTED THOUGH-TIFIED LTD. IT PRODUCES A WEB APPLICATION IN THE CLOUD THAT USES GEOLOCATION INFOR-MATION (GPS) TO REMOTELY MANAGE PROJECTS FROM ANY DEVICE. THEY WERE AWARDED BEST GRADUATE START UP AT THE SETSQUARD AWARDS FOR THEIR WORK.
GUILLAUME DEVINAT - GUITAR LESSON LOUNGE.
Guillaume is a second year business Management Student at the University of Surrey who founded guitarlessonlounge.com. In 2011 he was awarded Best Student Start-Up at the SetSquared enterprise awards. Additionally the overall winner of the SetSquared showcase was chosen from the entries across all the winning categories which he also won (shown on page 19). Later in the month Guillaume accepted his Santander Award for becoming a runner up in the university undergraduate business challenge.
SURREY STUDENTS BEAT BUSINESS BUFFS AT “IDEA INISIATIVE” BUSINESS CHALLENGE.Students from the University of Surrey took on a group of the sharpest business brains in the county in a head to head challenge at the ‘Ideas Initiative’ in March. Organised by a group of leading Surrey businesses working alongside the University of Surrey, the challenge required the two teams to come up with a viable business solution to a mystery scenario in just a couple of hours. Unbeknownst to the business experts, who turned out to be great sports, the students from Surrey Entrepreneurs had a powerful creative thinking tool at the ready. A week before the event, Andrew Tilling from Preseli spent the afternoon training the team in ‘The STORM Process‘ to enable them to find innovative solutions more effectively.
SURREY ENTERPRISE BECAME A SPIN OUT COMPANY OF THE UNIVERSITY IN SUMMER 2011 WITH THREE STUDENT PLACEMENT POSITIONS OPERATING THE ACTIVITY.
Why? An Interview.Cameron Wilson, Sarangan Vigneswaran and Jody Sayers joined forces in their first year at the University to run Surrey Entrepreneurs, a
society for would-be Richard Branson’s across campus. Such is the success of their venture that, with the help of philanthropic donations, the
trio have now formed a spin-off enterprise company and will be spending their professional placement years working directly for it. Cameron,
who along with Sarangan is studying Economics, said: “We thought that students should get together and start something which enabled
them to create their own opportunities rather than having to rely on others. “There used to be an entrepreneurs’ society which was dormant
and carried a bit of debt. We took that on and set about paying off the debt by bringing in speakers and running projects around campus
doing things like selling smoothies and doughnuts. “The company is the evolution of that. It will mean that if a student wants a placement in
entrepreneurship they can run Surrey Enterprise.” Taking on the responsibility of forming and running a start-up business would be challenge
enough for seasoned business executives, so the scale of the task facing the inexperienced Surrey students was sizeable. But rather than
seeing their lack of experience as a limiting factor, Sarangan said he and his colleagues actually gained a competitive edge through their
relative naivety. From consulting to idea generation and branding analysis, the group’s youthful approach to business has proven to be a big
draw to established companies. He said: “I think it has been a bit of a shock to some people to see students doing this, but we have found that
they want to use us and to give something back. In effect they are leaving their own legacy by supporting others.
“Some people see it as a negative, but I think our naivety allows us to come up with out-of-the-box ideas and develop interesting solutions
that can be easily executed.” Anyone familiar with BBC TV show The Apprentice may think that getting by in business relies as much on
ruthlessness and arrogance as it does raw entrepreneurial acumen. But the Surrey students insist that they will judge their success as much
on their ethical results as their financial figures. “Ethics are a fundamental part of what we want to do,” Sarangan explained. “Ultimately we
want to add value to society. “In the early stages we could easily have put on bar crawls. It has slowed us down not to have gone down
that route, but it didn’t fit in with how we wanted to develop. “We realised how business was viewed and what impact students could have on
that perception. The Apprentice is not how business really is. Most successful start-up companies are run by teams and we want to promote
that idea.” Cameron added: “There’s a great awareness about the effect that business has on the world we live in – people are more aware
than ever, and we need to act accordingly. We don’t want to facilitate things that take away from society.” With their placement running
the new business swiftly followed by the final stages of their undergraduate studies, Cameron, Sarangan and Jody face a busy time over
the coming years. The team admit to having to sacrifice weekends and holidays to spread their love of entrepreneurship to their peers, but
Sarangan views the workload as a labour of love. He said: “For us, this is a passion – it has had to be for us to be willing to get up at 4am to
go out and start selling something. “If it wasn’t for that passion, we wouldn’t have been able to push as hard as we have. There have been a
lot of late nights and busy weekends, but this is about more than a job.”
GUILDFORD STUDENT OFFERS - A MARKETING VENTURE THAT USES MULTIPLE CHANNELS FOR ORGANISATIONS TO ENGAGE WITH THE STUDENT COMMUNITY.
CONSULTING ENTREPRENEURS - A VENTURE THAT PROVIDES A NUMBER OF SOLUTIONS FOR ALL SIZED FIRMS THROUGH DRAWING ON UNIVERSITY LEVEL INSIGHTS AND SKILLS.