Attending the Start-Up Weekend at the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship was invaluable because it allowed me to validate my business ideas and evaluate solutions to the problems. It also allowed me to network with mentors, entrepreneurs, working professionals, and master’s students who are enthusiastic about becoming entrepreneurs or developing their entrepreneurial mindset. The event hosted guest speakers who shared their entrepreneurial journeys, this helped me to better understand the challenges I may face later. I also really enjoyed being immersed in an atmosphere in which I could bounce my ideas off mentors and participants like myself, with the same level of energy and enthusiasm.
Having been busy with course study and other academic activities, I took Start-Up Weekend as an opportunity to further work on my business idea. I learned so much during the two-and-half-day event and was truly inspired by the presentation delivered by Social Entrepreneur Shaz Shah, Co-Founder and Director of Harry Specters, a luxury chocolate brand based in Cambridgeshire. This is where the entrepreneurial spirit comes from – his pain and a wide society’s gain. He not only solved his problem but has also made a huge impact on society – helping young autistic people with their employability. It stands as his reason and motivation for becoming an entrepreneur whenever he faces challenges, such as funding and business growth. I do believe that this is truly putting value and vision before profit-making for him to establish this social enterprise.
The most challenging thing for me is to clearly articulate my business idea in a simplified manner. It is ridiculous, isn’t it? Going through the process of validating my ideas and evaluating solutions with mentors helped and made an enormous difference, especially to my confidence. I talked to four mentors, and each mentor raised doubts in terms of the solution to the problem – whose problem to solve and how to solve it. Each mentor provided me with so much valuable feedback during the process, and now I have a clear understanding of the problem, the market opportunity, and the feasibility of the solution.
I also found the two-minute pitch exciting as it allowed me an opportunity to pitch my idea in front of people who might otherwise be sceptical about my idea or solution. It was a very rewarding and worthwhile process because I received more feedback to refine my solutions further. My call to action is to seek advice from experts in the technology and medical fields and to think about the founding team seriously when getting my project started.
In summary, I benefited from the Start-Up Weekend because it allowed me to pitch my idea in a safe environment, where I could learn and be challenged, with the support of amazing mentors: John Murphy, Orsolya Ihasz, Arun Muthirulan, and Cranfield MBA alumnus – Michael Kenyon, Phil Evans, Ben Pearson, and Richard Leaver who continued to help refine my solution after the event. This process was truly amazing, and it genuinely helped to develop my business idea and build my confidence in taking my idea forward.
I am currently studying the Management and Entrepreneurship MSc at Cranfield School of Management, but I would highly recommend attending events put on by the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship as they are an essential first step in building a minimum viable product (MVP) and there might be the potential to attract investors, or funding, as Angel investors often attend and spot opportunities through these kinds of events.