PopUp Business School, in Partnership with Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship, Delivers an Inspiring Summer Start-Up Boot Camp

2 July 2018

PopUp Business School, in Partnership with Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship, Delivers an Inspiring Summer Start-Up Boot Camp

The annual Henley Summer Start-Up Boot Camp 2018, hosted by Henley Business School on 25-29 June, was led by the PopUp Business School to turn the traditional approach to starting a business on its head and dispel the notion that starting a business needs a lot of money.

Supported by Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship and sponsored by Santander, the Boot Camp was fully subscribed and attended by several University of Reading and Henley Business School students, along with Santander customers and local residents with ideas to start a business.

Opening the course was Jurek Sikorski, Executive Director of the Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship. Jurek welcomed all participants and declared “we are all entrepreneurs”, explaining to the assembled participants that having an idea for a business was an exciting notion which the course would help bring to fruition.


Alan Donegan, co-founder of the PopUp Business School, began his talk by exploring the five different ways to start and build a business with no investment. What resonated with entrepreneurs was that to launch a business you don’t need a business plan, only the confidence to start and to ‘sell something to someone’.

The second day of the Boot Camp was about getting participants to focus on generating sales, sending emails and getting creative with their marketing. By the end of the day the group had started reaching out, contacting people and making sales.

On the third day of the Boot Camp Alan introduced the group to building websites. Alan explained that businesses which aren’t online are digitally invisible and with a little guidance the group were able to build live demo websites in just 40 minutes. One of the new websites built during the Boot Camp was ‘This is Countryside Talent’, a new recruitment business. You can view their website built during the course here.

For the fourth day of the Boot Camp, Alan got everyone got online again by diving into social media. The group did a live podcast demo for a new company built during the Boot Camp called ‘Annie’s Nail Salon’, with the aim to get a Facebook post out to the biggest possible target audience. When the group didn’t work together they were only able to reach 268 people, but working together the group were able to reach out to 1,768 people. Social media tools were emphasised as being communications and networking tools and the group were all online in the afternoon, finding and talking to real customers in order to generate sales.


The final day of the Boot Camp ended with an entrepreneur’s guide to company structure, tax, accounting and banking. A panel of experts from Pitmans Lawyers, James Cowper Kreston Accountants, FSE Group and Santander answered questions and broke down many of the barriers to starting up.

Lunch was served by Sung Kim, an attendee of the 2016 Summer Start-Up Boot Camp who was inspired by the course and set up QooQn (pronounced ‘Cooking’), a food preparation and delivery business. The verdict on QooQn’s food was ‘outstanding’ and anyone interested in finding more about their food for themselves can check out their website here. Norma, a new food business and winners of the 2018 Henley IDEAFEST Competition, also served up some veggie brownies during the break.

The course ended with the 12 PopUp start-up principles, the certificate ceremony and singing along as O’rael sung ‘Happy’ by Farrell Williams to end the day. The entrepreneurs worked together tirelessly during the course to build a wide range of businesses, covering everything from driving schools to caravan sites and everything in between!

Feedback from the entrepreneurs attending the Boot Camp was exceptionally positive:

David Overton, BA Management and Business student at Henley Business School: “I would highly recommend this course to anyone who is interested in starting their own business and making their own money. It’s full of amazing entrepreneurial tips and for me, allowed me to finally decide what business idea I wanted to proceed with. Every stage experienced by a start-up business is covered along with solutions to all the potential problems it could encounter. I could not fault this course in any way and it is clear Alan is extremely passionate about his subject and helping others succeed!”

Tom Metalle, BA Business and Management student at Henley Business School: “Such a motivating experience.”

Elliott Chard, BA Business and Management student at Henley Business School: “This course is perfect for anyone thinking about or ready to start their own business. Alan brings great passion and energy to his talks, inspiring everyone in the room.”


Alan Donegan

Co-founder, PopUp Business School


PopUp Business School

PopUp Business School is an education service provider helping people start businesses and giving help to entrepreneurs.

E: alan@popupbusinessschool.co.uk

W: http://www.popupbusinessschool.co.uk/

T: 07932 247 353

Jurek Sikorski

Executive Director, Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship


Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship

Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship is part of Henley Business School at the University of Reading which provides a hub for teaching and research in the subject, inspiring students from across the University to embrace, develop and apply their entrepreneurial abilities.

E: jurek.sikorski@henley.ac.uk

W: https://www.henley.ac.uk/research/research-centres/henley-centre-for-entrepreneurship

Supported and sponsored by: