It may sound cliché to say that the Enterprisers 2013 was ‘one of the best’ enterprise and entrepreneurship programmes that I have attend till date, hence, I have decided to call it a bus trip to entrepreneurship. Hopefully, you too will be convinced of this by the end of my story about the programme!
First and foremost, a little history on the programme! Enterprisers (at Bedford) have been running over the past of couple of years as a joint programme by the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT-Sloan Schoo). The lead facilitators have been Dr Shailendra Vyakarnam (Cambridge) and Neal Hartman (MIT).
Delegates submit an application and are selected from all across the UK and Europe. The programme was advertised in one of the e-mails circulated to all students in the faculty. This year there were more than 15 delegates from Poland. This year’s programme had 52 attendees and we were divided into nine groups. In addition to the lead facilitators, there were 18 others, two per group. From Newcastle University, Jack Brinn, Cata Largacha, Sourima Shivhare and I attended the programme. In my opinion we were divided into groups based on our personality and team work skills, as prior to attending the programme all of us had to fill out a comprehensive survey. I was a member of the Yellow Star group. Also, the fact that all the members were quite happy within their teams reflected some selection criteria for the arrangement.
Similarly, the second day was based on developing our creative thinking which involved building a rocket as a group and launching it, all within one hour. Surprisingly, for the first time I had no problem within my group and we all worked very efficiently. Without even prior planning, all of us managed to take on individual roles in the building of the rocket as well as switch roles when required to accomplish the task. Unfortunately, our rocket was not the one with the highest launch distance but it was definitely the best group to work with. In the second day we also had to select two ideas within our individual groups to further work on the next day and also to present a poster in the evening at the drinks reception. I opted to work on with the idea of an esophageal cooling device that helps heart-attack patients recover sooner and also saves lives. At this point we worked in sub-groups with four or five members.
On the third day, we were briefed more on pitching style and also finances. We were provided a finance canvas to work on as sub-groups and at the end one member of the sub-group had to pitch the idea we had been working on for two minutes to everyone. It was a great learning experience in terms of pitching, finance as well as being able to work within a group. In the afternoon we also learnt about networking styles and had the opportunity to meet with three entrepreneurs (Dr Abel Ureta-Vidal, Mr Emmanuel Carraud and Dr Seena Rejal), each from a different sector (Bioinformatics, Apps and 3D search engine for the manufacturing sector). The day concluded in a networking evening where we had the opportunity to meet with several other entrepreneurs. Since, we had been briefed on networking skills it was much easier to enter into a conversation, obtain the answer required and then end the conversation.
Finally, our trip ended with a reflection on the complete course, two-three pitches from each of the nine groups and a group cabaret presentation which was another fun team work experience. I took the opportunity to pitch my app idea to everyone and it was a great experience. I learnt how to control my tone, explain the idea and received very valuable feedback.
Overall, the Enterprisers 2013 was a fantastic and inspiring programme. I learnt loads of new skills that I can apply in my research group, made loads of new enthusiastic friends and also met entrepreneurs with whom I can take some of my ideas forward. I returned back to my wet lab research with a suitcase full of energy, hope, new ideas and lots of great memories. Moreover, it helped me to realize that I need to enter the entrepreneurial world sooner than later as it is never early to develop your idea commercially!
Special thanks to Rise Up and the Medical School’s Enterprise unit for sponsoring me.