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Henley's Summer Start-Up Boot Camp energises aspiring entrepreneurs


The Henley Enterprise Lab at Henley Business School, in collaboration with Rebel Business School, hosted a successful Summer Start-Up Boot Camp from 17-21 June 2024.

Sponsored by Westcoast, a leading UK ICT distributor, the event saw over 100 students and local entrepreneurs register for the Boot Camp which had a sales-first approach to business start-ups, emphasising minimal resources and essential skills.

Jurek Sikorski, Director of Henley Enterprise Lab, opened the event and introduced facilitators from Rebel Business School, Simon Paine and Angie Beeston. Angie led the first day by sharing five key bootstrapping strategies with participants. Past participant Niloofar Razavi told her success story of starting a yoga therapy business, while Alex Tatham, Executive Director at Westcoast, encouraged ambition and agility for those looking to start winning businesses.

Alex Tatham addressing the Boot Camp participants
Alex Tatham addressing the Boot Camp participants

Alex Tatham, Executive Director at Westcoast, said of the event,

Henley is the leading Business School in our region and this boot camp is one of the many collaborations Westcoast has with education in the UK. I am delighted the week was such a success.

Simon led a session on sales and marketing methods like cold calling, tradeshows, social media, and networking, emphasising that "selling is not telling; it is asking." The mid-week sessions featured 'Website Wednesday,' where participants learned to create websites using Wix. This was followed by a focus on social media strategies, with Angie explaining how platforms like TikTok drive sales, and participants then showcased their newly created websites.

Angie discussing with participants some of the key elements required to bootstrap a business
Angie discussing with participants some of the key elements required to bootstrap a business

The final day brought together a panel of experts discussing key commercial, employment, finance, Intellectual Property, legal, and tax matters. Moderated by Jurek, the panel emphasised the importance of professional advice. Angie closed the Boot Camp with the '12 Rebel Principles,' focusing on confidence, customer retention, and an urgent drive to succeed.

Jurek Sikorski joined by four industry professional panellists
Jurek Sikorski, far left, joined by four panellists listed from left to right: Ash Arif Partner at Clarkslegal LLP, David Askew Relationship Director Technology Team at the NatWest Group, David Brookes Regional Managing Partner at BDO, and Neal Carey Relationship Manager at Thames Valley NatWest

The week concluded with participants feeling confident and excited to develop their business ideas, widely praising its practical approach. Here is some of what the participants had to say about the bootcamp:

"Learning that if you don’t ask you don’t get, you have to ask for the sale. There is a massive emphasis on building relationships with other business and customers and staying persistent"
"The most important thing in business is to actually take action. Thinking about the first thing that can be done to take the business from 0 to something."

Find out more about the Henley Business School Summer Boot Camp.

Published 1 July 2024
Department news Entrepreneurship

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