The first Professional Networking Event to support entrepreneurs was held last night in the innovative Infomatics Suite in the new Laboratory here at the College. The evening gave OA entrepreneurs and budding entrepreneurs the opportunity to discuss and develop their ideas with both a panel of experts and later in a more informal environment over drinks.
The evening started with a taste testing of coconut yoghurt presented by Joe Peyton (93-04). His USP being that the added protein in the form of a nut butter will appeal to the sports minded and health conscious. In complete contrast we also heard from Pete Lester who is developing a completely novel form of scaffolding joint that will make building with and working on scaffolding both more flexible and safer.
As presentations finished, we moved into a panel discussion facilitated by Simon Williams, father of a boy in Year 10 and experienced chairman and presenter with a background in insurance.
The questions, particularly from boys at the College ranged from those focussed on the business model – How soon should I seek professional advice? What is the best way to advertise my product?- to those more concerned with the welfare of the entrepreneur – Just how do you find a work life balance?
In all cases the answers were sensible and informative and it quickly became clear that whatever the vision, however strange the idea may seem to others it is the drive and determination of the entrepreneur to bring the product to the market place that is crucial. Ideas are easy to have but can sit on the drawing board for years so just start and be prepared to fail – more than once. We learned about the power of not only global social media but also of the network of family and friends that will be willing you to succeed and should never be discounted in the early days of product development.
The huge buzz created by the panel discussion continued late into the evening with ideas pitched and discussed, new contacts shared and made and the overall feeling that the evening had only glimpsed at the fascinating world of the entrepreneur ship and one to which we should return again very soon.
We take this opportunity to once again thank our moderator Simon Williams and panellists, Joe Peyton, Alex Coates, Oliver Rowland, Mat Heinl, Adrian Bott, Pete Lester and Alex Griffiths in Chicago!
The full photo gallery can be found here.