Author Archives: Iheanyi Ibe

About Iheanyi Ibe

Iheanyi is an accredited and experienced Business Adviser working with clients in the commercial development of ideas, business start-ups and securing competitive advantage for existing businesses and projects. As part of his role as Enterprise Officer Iheanyi leads on the HEFCW funded Enterprise Support Programme, supporting students and graduates in the development of small businesses and skills.

Idea to business in 10 quickie steps

For entrepreneurs, it is often easier to come up with a variety of ideas for new businesses and more difficult to actually implement those concepts. Ideas and businesses are often different, but most are likely to go through these phases.

1. Come up with an idea

2. Think it through

3. Get some feedback from those who know

4. Make necessary changes

5. Build your basic product/service

7. Test it out

8. Make adjustments again

6. Launch

9. Grow

10. Continually review your plan.

If you feel this is all easier said than done, you are not alone. We are here to help you at every step. If you are interested in enterprise, Cardiff University Enterprise can help you develop the skills you need to stand out from the crowd or successfully create your own business.

If you have an idea for a business or social enterprise and need help to develop it or someone to talk to about the next steps, Cardiff University Enterprise offers impartial information, guidance and advice to Cardiff University students, graduates and alumni on how to take an idea forward and take an existing business or social enterprise to the next level.

We offer 1-2-1 business drop in sessions with experienced advisers and an opportunity to ask sector experts questions about your business, business start-up & skills development workshops, a diary of distinguished entrepreneurial speakers, an annual ideas challenge, access to funds & developmental bursaries, and a FREE start up office premises to kick start your business.

If you would like speak to someone about exploring an idea or the support available to you, please get in touch with Iheanyi Ibe on enterprise@cardiff.ac.uk

 

My Spark Challenge Experience by Oliver Ferriman

Why did I apply to Spark?

When I first saw Spark advertised I decided to go through each of the set questions for a very rough idea I had for a business. I decided that it couldn’t harm to share my idea and gain the feedback of others, it also gave me the opportunity to look at the idea in-depth which I had never really done. I hadn’t really given it too much thought before, but by working through the questions it helped me to shape and define the idea fully and I found the whole process extremely helpful for actually developing the rough idea into a concept which began to sound more thorough. It was the direction in which the application led me which allowed me to rule out elements which were totally unfeasible, and find areas which could be further researched.

I found the bouncing back-and-forth of ideas particularly useful for refining the idea, as well as feeling the assurance that someone one else appreciated ‘my vision’.

How did Spark help?

Taking part in the pitch aspect of Spark was extremely useful for many reasons. Firstly, I was able to practise my presenting skills and share the idea with others in a succinct and interesting manner.

Secondly, the extra research put in to enhance the pitch was extremely useful for many other situations and gave me a firmer idea of statistics relevant to the industry. Some of these supported the idea I had, and some actually made me re-think certain elements to move in line with what the figures were suggesting.

Finally, the judges’ questions can expose potential problems or new ideas which may not have been previously thought of. While these may seem daunting on the day, they are very beneficial for making the overall idea more watertight, and helping to show you how well you actually know the idea and related industry. If you decide to pursue the idea then these greatly help.

If you win then the funding available can help to get the idea started or, at least, research the idea more fully.

Who would I encourage to enter Spark?

Anyone, especially if you’ve ever had an idea for a product or business. It doesn’t matter how little or how much you’ve thought about the feasibility of the idea. More than anything, Spark actually encourages you to sit down and think about every aspect of the idea, check to see that it doesn’t already exist, what competition there is – all the aspects that tend to be overlooked when you first have the ‘Eureka moment’ for your new business.

If you already have a strong idea of how the business could work then perhaps entering in the ‘Plan’ stage would be more suitable. This is generally when more research around the business has been performed but it hasn’t quite got to the launch stage. Even at this stage, new ideas for development or more efficient or cost-effective ways of delivering the end result can be formed from the interaction with the Enterprise staff and from the business people sitting on the panel.

If your business has already launched then entering gives you a chance to gain some extra funding, and the opportunity to extend your reach and contacts.

Overall, I believe that Spark is extremely rewarding at every level and is a great benefit even if only to give you an idea of what sort of questions you could be considering. Without applying I don’t think that I would have had the opportunity or the confidence to fully develop the business and I’m very grateful for the motivation it gave me to pursue my idea further.

If this isn’t enough to convince you to apply, then just look at some of the success stories that Spark has produced:

River Huang entered the Ideas stage of Spark and managed to bring the idea of PingPong Digital – a UK-based Chinese social media management agency – to life. River won the ‘Most Popular Idea’ category and “really appreciates all of the work that Cardiff University Enterprise has done for all the young entrepreneurs like me”.

Spark alumnus Amrita Singh felt inspired to develop her skill and passion for cakes to launch The House of Bake. Amrita thought that Spark “really was fantastic to get involved in as it made me have to think about important things (a business plan!!) that can be so easy to push aside and put off until ‘tomorrow’!”. You can find out more about Amrita’s business at http://www.thehouseofbake.com/

So don’t just think about it, do it. Fill out the application here and gain support for your idea or turn your hobby into a business.

Good luck!

The Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs Awards

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A total of €200,000 in financial support and tailored mentoring will be awarded to the seven most impressive entries.

deadline 1st November 2013.

The Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs Awards, developed in partnership with the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership, are looking for innovative yet practical, tangible solutions created by young people that help make sustainable living commonplace.

Young entrepreneurs (aged 30 or under) are invited to submit groundbreaking initiatives that tackle the challenge of sustainable living. Are you a young entrepreneur with a product, service, or application that could change a practice or behaviour to enable sustainable living? If so, enter your solution before 1 November, 2013.

A total of €200,000 in financial support and tailored mentoring will be awarded to the seven most impressive entries. Please read our Welcome Letter to learn more about the search, and visit the Guidelines & Criteria page for more information on how to enter

For more information, visit www.changemakers.com/node/165056

Things I wish I had known as an international student before starting University

International Airport Arrivals  Board 

If you are anything like me, then the idea of studying in a different country comes with mixed feelings. Anything from the excitement of living somewhere different and the anxiety of leaving your family and everything you know to delve into the unknown.

Here are some of the things I wish I knew then that would have made a difference to me.

1. Prepare

So your flight is booked and you know what time you’re due to land.  But have you planned your travel between the airport and your university? Many universities offer help and subsidised or discounted transfer arrangements for their international students.  Contact the International Office to see if there is a provision for this. There will be a wide range of information available from the University website for international students prior to their arrival. Explore in depth the university and your departmental websites. If you do so, you may not have a question to be worrying about or looking for someone to assist or explain. You would also save yourself from getting vague information.

2. Check if you need to register

Some foreign nationals are required to register with the police and or their embassies within days of arriving in the UK (it should be clear sometimes from your passport stamp if you do).  Again enquire with the International Office and your embassy for required.Most universities provide an on-campus GP (general practitioner) who can act as your doctor for minor ailments and complaints whilst you are away from home.  Enquire with your International Office for advice and information about the services available at your university.

3. Paperwork:

Keep several versions of your documents ready and accessible at all times. Always have at least 2 copies of every important document, the originals and also scan all of them so you have a digital copy, in case it is necessary to send them with email. This really saves you lots of time.

4. Say Hello and make friends

 Everyone out there, regardless of whether they are from other countries or from the UK, has moved away from family and friends and it very likely, feels like you. Distances don’t matter. This is when, everyone is ready to make friends, so regardless of how out of place you feel, just smile, and say hi. Get to know your lecturers and tutors! Walk around and meet your tutors and lecturers in person.

5. Mix with students from other backgrounds and countries

One of the biggest advantages of being an international student is being exposed to a variety of global cultures. Not having an experience of this is pointless. With the nature of today’s global economy, it wouldn’t hurt to have global contacts. Go out there and make friends and build your knowledge of other cultures while sharing yours.

6. Get involved with your Students Union / Society:

Most international students will find a society representing their home country or interests at the University.  Join a society and get involved. It allows you to meet similar people who are good links. Also you can celebrate cultural events or traditions.

7. Immerse yourself in the culture

 Be prepared for culture shock and seek support. It is challenging enough moving away to a place where you know no one, let alone to move to a place where the culture is also very different. Regardless of how developed or advanced a society you are coming from, the mere change of scenery can be enough to impact how you feel. If you are struggling to cope, there is always support available from the University. Talk to someone.

8. Familiarise yourself with your new city

The city you choose to study in will have a range of events, activities and venues to keep you entertained while studying in the UK. From live music gigs to museums, the likelihood is that whatever you like to do for entertainment, the city will cater for it. However, remember that the UK is relatively small compared with other countries and it is possible to visit the majority of cities for short breaks, as well as parts of Europe, should you wish to do so. Each city in the UK has its own unique history.

9. Go to your freshers’ week

At universities in the UK, a freshers’ week is usually held before teaching officially starts. The week consists of many events specifically for new starters to get to know the university, city and each other. The main part of freshers’ week is the freshers’ fair, which is held on campus and showcases the university clubs you can join and other student related services. The more information you can get, the quicker you will be familiar with what’s available to you.

10. Seek advice and opinion on resources available to you

Universities make an effort to make sure your university experience is a positive and productive one. There are numerous services available to you to support this. There is a range of services offering guidance and advice on a range of issues including your finances, studies, career and your general health & wellbeing. There are also a range of discounted products and services available from external businesses. As an international student, you have to be frugal on what and how you spend your limited finance. A little research will save you on resources.

11. Get a job

Working part-time is a great way to earn cash, meet people and get a quick induction of the culture of the place.  It is common for students to make the most of their long summer break by working or even volunteering. Students from outside the EEA but on a full-time course of study can work limited hours during term time and extended hours during holidays. Visit www.workpermits.gov.uk for more information.

12. Buy a coat

It’s often said that the only predictable thing about British weather is its unpredictability. It may be wise to bring a coat and warm clothing  (although these will be reasonably cheap to buy when you arrive.)

13. Food for Thought: Learn to cook a few things.

It will be invaluable, and comes in handy at beginning of term when so much money and time is being spent doing other things. It is important to keep yourself well fed at the beginning of term, with food you are accustomed to, since you will get weary of takeaways quickly and start missing food from home. Most big cities in the UK now cater for food produce from around the world and Cardiff is no different.

14. Learn how to make a cup of tea

This is kind of a big deal.  Almost everyone in the UK drinks tea. A lot!

15. Finally…. embrace the change. It is what you wanted in the first place.

 

 

 

Bright sparks:Enterprising students win funds for their business ideas

Amit Roy receives award for his SoundScout Idea

Amit Roy receives award for his SoundScout Idea

A mini film festival project, an online platform for reviewing plays and an idea for a sun visor have each won a £1000 business prize in a University enterprise competition.

Run by Cardiff University Enterprise, Spark Ideas Challenge is an annual event for Cardiff University students, and recent graduates. It is run in partnership with the Santander Universities Scheme and offers students an opportunity to explore and attract some investment for their ideas and projects.

The challenge is split into three categories (Ideas, Plan and Ventures) allowing students with ideas at different developmental levels to take part.

Jody Tozer, an English & Communication graduate, was awarded the first prize in the Venture category for her Cardiff Mini Festival project. This level is open to entrants already running businesses. Jody’s winning project offers a unique opportunity for new upcoming film makers to make and exhibit their films on a lower budget.

Oliver Ferriman, an undergraduate from Cardiff Business School scooped the winning prize in the Plan category with his RE:acting idea. RE:acting is a website designed to help young performers to get feedback on audition speeches, performances and trailers.

The top prize in the Ideas category went to Charlie Pollard and Beth Greere, both undergraduates from Cardiff Business School for SunGuard, a compact and foldable sun visor.

With prize money of £500 each, second place for the Venture category went to Ben Harris & Jason Walsh for MCQ (a free national online database of high-quality multiple choice questions for exam revision; created for medical students), Tom Cumiskey, in the Plan category for Goideed (an innovative online platform for raising philanthropic funds) and Amit Roy in the Ideas category for SoundScout (an online platform that provides exposure for unsigned music artist).

Iheanyi Ibe, University Enterprise Support Officer who organises the annual award event said:This year proved, once again, the enthusiasm and talent for business amongst our students. The judges had a difficult task in deciding the winners and also had very positive things to say about the ideas.

“In particular, the judge’s praised the enthusiasm and confidence of the participants in presenting their ideas and the courage in taking the next step.”

By supporting events and competitions like the Spark Ideas Challenge, Cardiff University Enterprise is able to help students get started in setting up small businesses and developing entrepreneurial skills. It also offers a wealth of expertise and mentoring, advice about potential funding, as well as business space for students looking to develop a business or social enterprise.

Business Start Up Week 2013

Start up week

 

Develop your idea through Business Start-up Modular Workshops

12th-14TH June 2013 

Cardiff University Enterprise is due to host a series of modules that aim to guide and support those that want to establish a new venture.  This 3 day intensive programme aims to help students and graduates make a positive yet realistic decision about going self employed.

From day one participants will be focused on the development of their emerging idea.  It is envisaged that through the supportive structure of small groups, the facilitators, who are accomplished business advisors, will be able to help develop each idea.  In turn, each attendee will be given time to consider the market, management, pricing and financing of their idea.  This is not a programme for academic understanding, but for those that want to execute the delivery of their new business concept.

This series of Business Start-up Modular Workshops is delivered by Business In Focus on behalf of the Welsh Assembly Government.  Eligibility is based on having a business idea, being a final year student, graduate or post graduate. If you are not eligible but interested in attending, please get in touch to discuss this further.

There are limited places on this programme, it is therefore anticipated that competition will be high.  Information on the booking procedure can be found on Campus Group and based on first come first served.

Attendance to all modules is required to receive the Certificate of Professional Development in Business Start-up and Enterprise.

For More information, email ibei@cardiff.ac.uk or click HERE to enrol.

Student or recent graduate? Great business idea but need funding? Why not do something about it…

The RBS EnterprisingU competition has launched for the second year, with £40,000 worth of prizes!

The annual competition, created by Find Invest Grow (FIG) and sponsored by the RBS Group, offers a unique online platform for students to “road-test” their business ideas, while building the framework for a professional business plan at the same time.

The competition is open to students and graduates of the past 5 years: they don’t have to be economics graduates with business experience – anyone can enter. The platform enables students to explore the viability of their business idea, by asking the right questions and building the appropriate framework.

Entries will be reviewed and 20 semi-finalists will be selected to attend training workshops. Of these, up to 10 finalists will be chosen and will attend the final to pitch their business ideas to a room full of investors, with the chance of winning prizes of £25,000, £10,000, and £5,000.
The competition is now open, at: http://www.rbsenterprisingu.com where you can also see the case studies of last year’s finalists and the winning idea.

The deadline for completed entrants is midnight on 19th July 2013.