One of many roles I have at the Futures Entrepreneurship Centre is being schools liaison co-ordinator primarily in the South West, with the aim of enriching business curricular, raising pupils’ aspirations for further academic studies and creating opportunities and competitions to enhance their interest in current business issues and entrepreneurship.
Francesco D’Alessio, one of our current business students together with a local 6th former initiated the creation of UNI – MEET – SCHOOL, a series of events that I helped to prepare and organize.
Our first event was held at the Futures Centre in Plymouth one Wednesday afternoon in March. The aim of the event was to give local 6th formers an opportunity to buddy up with our business students, to share ideas, to build networks, meet with local entrepreneurs, find a business mentor and learn more about Entrepreneurship, Futures and Plymouth Business School programmes.
Our first initial session covered topics such as networking and technology. Entrepreneur Raphael Dennett had joined us to share his knowledge on how to run a successful business and use technology effectively. Raphael Dennett is a Plymouth Business School Alumni, currently working for the Futures Centre as an Entrepreneur in residence while running many successful businesses. Raphael launched his first business straight after his graduation and he is enjoying the success of his company http://www.raphaeldennett.com/
Raphael talked about his time at the university, his degree – Business Management 2 years fast track and how the business knowledge he gained and the links he forged throughout his time at the university helped him and are still helping him to run his businesses successfully.
Francesco D’Alessio, the president of Plymouth University’s Entrepreneurs Society and Kamran Malik, entrepreneur and founder of Think Space talked about the importance of networking and how to gain, improve, practice and keep the networking alive.
Networking is possibly one of the most important skills for entrepreneurs. Networking offers opportunities and connections essential for future business or professional relations. Kamran Malik highlighted that networking is not only about winning clients, it is also about offering value, having the right attitude and openness to opportunities.
Networking does not stop after the initial contact. Continuing dialog is important – keeping the connection going – continuing the conversation.
Plymouth University’s Entrepreneurs Society – Igniting Enterprise – offers business support and mentoring for people and students who are interested in starting a business. The society also organises many interested talks by inspiring and experienced global and local entrepreneurs. Igniting Enterprise have been nominated for Enterprise Society of the Year and Media Champions and in March this year won FLUX Nationals 2015. This is the fifth time Plymouth University students won a prestigious national competition: Western Morning News – Plymouth University students crowned Flux champions.
NACUE’s Annual Society Awards (2015) celebrate the individuals and societies who are going above and beyond to demonstrate and promote enterprise and entrepreneurship at their institution.
Our networking event was a great success. We have all enjoyed listening and talking to entrepreneurs, debating current business issues, discussing entrepreneurship and exchanging ideas. The event was sweetened by an amazing catering arrangement with tasty cupcakes.
In Francesco D’Alessio’s words, “It was an opportunity to bring active university students with the minds of fast-thinking young business talent”.
The Futures, centre for entrepreneurial education and research, aims to create an environment where entrepreneurialism flourishes and I am happy to be part of the team that supports the entrepreneurial spirit in all of us.
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