Lessons from the New Entrepreneurs

5 November 2012

Lessons from the New Entrepreneurs

Self-belief, persistence and hard work were the key criteria for being successful identified by the new entrepreneurs who came to speak at a joint Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship and Institute of Directors Berkshire event...

 

Self-belief, persistence and hard work were the key criteria for being successful identified by the new entrepreneurs who came to speak at a joint Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship and Institute of Directors Berkshire event. Joining an invited audience of students and IoD members, three new businesses talked about the trials and tribulations of setting up their companies and their future plans.

Tiernan Mines and James Beldham, both alumni of the University, who set up their business as the result of a business plan competition run by the University' Knowledge Transfer Unit, described how they intend to take their business forward. The business partners, who also work full-time alongside running their business, described how it had never occurred to them not to run their own business but underlined the hard work and drive that it takes to succeed.

David Speed, Director of Graffiti Life, a corporate graffiti art company, talked about his journey from artist to entrepreneur, and about changing people's perceptions of graffiti art. He explained: 'It has not always been a smooth path to get where we are and I have had to convince people that we are on the right track particularly when things were tough. But I knew fundamentally that what we could offer, there would be a market for.' The company now works with a wide range of organisations including Sky, BMW, Google and Microsoft as well as fashion retailers.

While Universe and Graffiti Life continue to build on their core business, James Hakesley and Roy Kimani have moved on from setting up their original business, FidgitBox, to creating Nideo an online video platform that connects the business community through video. The two entrepreneurs, who originally started their first company at university with an events and hoodie business, see themselves moving onto set up other businesses across the course of their careers. Roy explained: 'James and I work well together as a team because while we may be coming up with ideas for new businesses all the time, we can usually bounce ideas off each other and our network of contacts and decide whether or not they are really a good idea.' James also identified the speed with which it is now possible to test out new business ideas and evaluate whether or not there is a target audience for them.

Malcolm Wicks, Vice-Chair of the IoD summed up: 'This was a great opportunity for IoD members to learn about what it is like to be a new entrepreneur in the current business environment. There was some lively discussion about how the entrepreneurs themselves come up with ideas and how they plan to drive their businesses forward. The joint event with the Centre provided an excellent opportunity to hear from some new entrepreneurs and also entrepreneurs in the making, in the students from the Centre and across the University who also attended. We look forward to more of these events where we can bring IoD members together with new entrepreneurs and students.'