Skills for Enterprise
17 November 2011, City University London
In recognition of the world's celebration of innovation, City's Enterprise Office team brought together entrepreneurial spirits for a "Skills for Enterprise" evening, part of the Global Entrepreneurship Week.
Organised by Bill Richardson, Manager for Enterprise and CPD Programmes at City, and supported by the Enterprise Office team, four speakers who have brought their ideas to life talked about the nuts and bolts of starting up a business or social enterprise.
The first speaker of the night, Nigel Biggs, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the University of Surrey as well as a business consultant, says there is never a better time to start a business than when you are passionate about it.
"You will go through the terror, the fear, the uncertainty… you don't have to find a million pounds… you find ways."
It took Nigel six months to leave his job for the ups and downs of being his own boss.
One of his first hard-earned lessons was that income should not be reliant on somebody else doing something - as a business model, it just does not work. And more lessons were to come. He came close to bankruptcy before Pixology, the company he founded, floated for £28 million on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM).
Today, Nigel helps others starting their own enterprises. He said:
"I am passionate about this whole area, student enterprise and inspiring people in small businesses… it is great to meet new people and see how others do things."
Other speakers with key insights to essential skills for enterprising individuals included City's own practitioners and visiting lecturers: Martin Deal, a business owner and adviser, and digital marketing tutor; Quinn Simpson, business coach and mentor; and Karen Glossop, co-founder of Wishbone Theatre and a teacher at the Presentation Skills course. Karen said:
"I find it quite inspiring that there are people who make that commitment [to a short courses programme]… they are working very hard to improve their skills."
Public speaking is one of those key skills for winning the hearts and minds of potential supporters for a business concept, particularly in a tough economic environment. Karen notes:
"It is a chance to make a personal connection… you can't do that with a brochure or a website, although those things are quite valuable… you have to find that spark that inspires you."