Alumni Innovation Award Winner 2019 | Expo Education
2019 saw three winners of the Innovation Award at the SETsquared Bath Innovation Centre. We have asked the winners to write their own blog posts so that we can hear all about their entrepreneur journey as it develops. Read George Griffiths’ blog about his winning business idea ‘Expo Education’. Scroll down to the bottom of the page if you would like to read from the beginning of the journey.
#1 October 2019
ADVICE FOR YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS: EMBRACE HONESTY
Looking back over the last 12 months, there’s one thing I wish I learnt earlier about entrepreneurship.
My name’s George, I’m 21 and I’m a BSc Biology graduate from the University of Bath. I grew up in North Wales which sits in the beautiful Snowdonia mountain range and borders the Irish Sea, and despite being a great place to grow up, it’s never really been a thriving hub of professional opportunities. Networking and “who you know” fascinates me, and being able to build relationships is part of my core personality. During my 2nd and 3rd years at university I created a project that helps students get free tickets to world-leading conferences through volunteering. The project has now helped 73 students at the University of Bath gain access to cutting-edge conferences in London, in areas such as artificial intelligence, cyber security, biotechnology and finance.
Rather serendipitously, we began to take notice of how providing young people with an opportunity to gain instant industry contacts seemed to fulfil a rather large strategic goal for the university; the need to provide all students, regardless of background, with an accessible and impactful opportunity to network with leaders in their field, in order to contribute to providing a great student experience on a level playing field for all student demographics.
Using our traction, in my final year I applied for the University of Bath Innovation Award, where I pitched my idea to create a platform that enables students to attend high-level conferences through volunteering as well as assess the viability of conference volunteering becoming a permanent part of life at universities – and to my elation, we secured an award. This award enables me to spend the next 12 months working full-time on developing an idea that I love, in to an online service-based business. People build businesses, therefore people are important.
Over time, it’s become increasingly clear to me as a young founder that from a start-up standpoint, the more honest you are about yourself, your idea, and the fact you’re someone with no real business experience – the more people will believe in your story and want to help you realise your vision. So, the one thing I wish I learnt about entrepreneurship earlier on is that it’s very likely you won’t have the answers to most of the questions that users, investors and advisors have, and instead of succumbing to the “I can’t do this!” mind-set, it is the very fact that “you don’t know yet” which makes the journey of building a business exciting, and once you learn to draw excitement from that uncontrollable inevitability, every…
1. Sales call
2. Meeting with a mentor
3. Product demonstration
4. Product feedback meeting
5. Brainstorming session
6. Marketing campaign
7. Pretty much everything
…becomes part of a highly enjoyable and productive iteration process of building a business.
Here’s to the next 12 months.