Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship - Summer Start-Up Boot Camp


The 2017 Summer Start-Up Boot Camp was held over a five day period from 26 June to 30 June 2017 at Henley Business School and proved to be a great success, with both students and local residents coming together to learn about setting up a business from scratch.

Launched in 2013 and sponsored by Santander Bank, the Summer Start-Up Boot Camp attracted over 50 would be entrepreneurs to develop their business ideas and prepare them to launch a business.

“We are going to turn the traditional approach to starting a company on its head,” said Alan Donegan, Co-founder of PopUp Business School and course convener. “No longer is it the case that you follow the traditional approach by writing a business plan, raising some money, hiring some people, building a product, finding a customer and so on… Let’s start with sales!”

Participants learnt how to start a business with no money, build a website for free, find customers and start to make sales.

Described in glowing terms by participants, the Boot Camp boosted confidence and raised energy levels, with many planning to continue developing their business idea and pursuing a career as an entrepreneur. 26% of participants said that they were actively trading by the fifth day of the workshop and a further 52% said they were poised to begin trading in the near future.


Talking about his experiences leading this year’s Boot Camp, Alan said: "We had a real diversity of participants and they worked so well together. We had so much fun and it was incredible to see people building websites for free, contacting customers and making money."

Jurek Sikorski, Executive Director at the Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship, said: "There was such an amazing atmosphere and great engagement by participants. I’m delighted to see participants hungry to build expertise and launch businesses, which not just a Reading phenomenon but a global phenomenon."

Participants were extremely positive in their feedback on the Boot Camp. Read their comments on the 2017 Summer Start-up Boot Camp here and watch our video of the event here.

The Summer Start-Up Boot Camp is supported and sponsored by Santander.