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Six start-up tips for young entrepreneurs

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At the Festival of Digital Distruption (FoDD) - organised by Connect TVT and Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship - aspiring entrepreneurs from Henley Business School were given the opportunity to interview local entrepreneurs about what it takes to start a business.

Here is some of the advice offered at the event:

1. Take decisive action

"Many companies compete on press releases saying what they are going to do, whereas we decided to go out and do it. We invested in the hard things to do and then showed them working. There is never an appropriate time to start a business as there is always something that will get in the way. Get your plan together, get someone to help and get started."

- Richard Parker, co-founder of Altitude Angel

2. Convey the problem you're solving

"When you are pitching for investment, focus on the problem that you are trying to solve. Don't talk too much about the technology and focus on what your market size is. Investors want to know what the opportunity is and how much can you address that market. They are also interested in what kind of team you have behind you and what the road map is going to be."

- Dr Iris Kramer, founder of Arch AI

3. Run your start-up in tandem with a full-time job, then make the jump

"It can be really tough having a demanding job and starting a business but the positive is that you still have some money coming in. Use your network to bring in investment. I had investors at hand before I left my job, which helped."

- Dr Iris Kramer, founder of Arch AI

4. Carefully choose your business partners

"Choose your co-founders wisely, as you will make a lot of decisions together. Choose someone with the right personality type and someone whose skills complement yours."

- James Doherty, founder of Plastic-i, Oxford

5. Know your market

"Our idea was always to try and solve a problem and find a gap in the market. We realised there were lots of artisan chefs out there and we spoke to many of them before developing the app. Anyone can become a chef and get on the platform once they have gone through the relevant training."

- Shabbir Mookhtiar, founder of Cook My Grub

6. Plan your cashflow

"Managing cash flow is key and is something that, in hindsight, we wish we had a focus on ten years ago when coming up with the original business plan. You have to have that grit and determination. When you take that leap, you have no other option but to make it work.”

- Luci Clayton-Jones, co-founder of Double-Barrelled Brewery


FoDD is an annual networking event, organised by ConnectTVT and Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship, aimed at opening up opportunities for careers or start-up businesses in the creative, digital and tech sectors. It is targeted at young aspiring entrepreneurs across the Thames Valley and was held face to face at the Biscuit Factory in Reading town centre from 21-22 November 2022.

The speakers at the FoDD were all successful business leaders across the Thames Valley, covering a wide range of sectors from air traffic control for drones to home baking and brewing. Some of the speakers already had connections with Henley Business School, with Joseph Munns from BakedIn a previous Henley Business Angels applicant.

Louize Clarke, co-founder of ConnectTVT, spoke positively about the involvement of the students: "The student interviewers were committed, involved and excellent interviewers. They even prepared the interview questions."

Find out more about the Festival of Digital Disruption.

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Published 23 November 2022
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