Aspiring entrepreneurs join Henley Summer Start-Up Boot Camp
More than 85 students, alumni and local residents of the University of Reading and Henley Business School attended the ninth annual Henley Summer Start-Up Boot Camp.
Held online from 21-25 June 2021, the Boot Camp is a hands-on, practical course, giving participants the knowledge they need to start their own business and make money doing what they love.
Hosted by Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship and delivered by the Rebel Business School, it offers participants the chance to try a new approach to starting a business, focusing on making sales and showing it is possible to do so from the start with little or no money.
Jurek Sikorski, Executive Director of Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship, opened the first day of the Boot Camp and introduced Simon Paine, CEO and co-founder of the Rebel Business School. Simon described how the start-up business landscape has changed and how companies such as Facebook, Uber and Airbnb have grown to become successful globally following different businesses models.
The examples gave participants food for thought, including Shlok Maheshwari, BA Business and Management student, who said: "It's been a fun-filled and enlightening week! I really loved the entire course. It showed us that there are so many ways to start your business and scale it up!"
The next three days covered topics including sales and the importance of building trust and credibility, developing a company website with the right format and how to use social media platforms effectively to build a customer base.
There was plenty for participants to take away from this. Local resident Nicholas Edwards said: "I have been developing a small business more or less on a shoestring and there was part of me that wondered if this was unprofessional. My single biggest takeaway was that this common sense approach was valid."
The final day of the Boot Camp started with an expert panel moderated by Jurek Sikorski and featuring Ashan Arif, Partner at Clarkslegal; David Brookes, Managing Partner of the Reading and Bristol Offices at BDO; and Georgina Mackey, Regional Ecosystem Manager at NatWest Group.
They addressed a range of topics, including access to finance, employment and intellectual property, and gave participants some key pointers to consider, such as making the most of sources of help like local business growth hubs; thinking about contracts and the legal structure of the company; and taking expert advice on tax.
After the panel took questions, Simon Paine offered his '12 Rebel Principles' as final words of advice for participants, which included 'success is built on trust', 'the more you give, the more you get' and 'business is all about having money, not owing money'. Jurek Sikorski encouraged participants to ‘believe with all your heart’ - both in the business and themselves - and ‘achieve with all your might’.
Jurek Sikorski, Executive Director of Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship, said:
"The Boot Camp showed participants how to start a business for little or no money and that success is what you put into the business and how well you treat your customers. Not being afraid of failure and building trust goes a long way. It was a real pleasure to host the Summer Start-up Boot Camp. I wish all participants great success with their businesses and my thanks to Simon and Rebel Business School for delivering such an engaging and interactive course."
Simon Paine, co-founder and CEO of the Rebel Business School, said:
"Once again it was a thrill and a pleasure to partner with Henley Business School and lead this year's Boot Camp. The range of business ideas and the incredible level of engagement makes this such an enjoyable experience. Events like this help us further our mission to change the way entrepreneurship is taught and make business possible for anyone and everyone."
A full report on the Henley Summer Start-Up Boot Camp will be posted on the Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship website in the coming weeks. Find out more about the Rebel Business School here.