Category Archives: Blog

Embedded Enterprise & Employability Exchange 03.12.14

Wednesday 3rd December, 12.45-14.45, Council Chamber, Main Building

The Exchange aims to bring together academics to share knowledge and explore opportunities for advancing teaching in a way that contextualises attribute and skill development for enterprise and employment.  For this next instalment of the Exchange we are focusing in on two case examples where students will be available to outline their own experience of being taught using a modern pedagogic approach.

Dr Jacqui Mulville and a student from the School of History, Archaeology & Religion will outline a module where students develop personal attributes by communicating heritage to a wide audience.  Again, accompanied by a student, Dr Vincent Knight from the School of Mathematics will offer an insight into the structure and development of a module that advances coding skills and additionally offers a basic insight into innovation and commercial awareness.

Colleagues from across the institution can expect to; Continue reading

Global Entrepreneurship Week – Enactus Society

Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) kicked off yesterday and Cardiff University Enterprise have been working hard to put together a dynamic list of events and activities for students to get involved in. We hope to support anyone looking at starting their own venture or who is interested in what it means to have an entrepreneurial spirit. The theme of this year’s GEW is “Get Connected” and we’ve connected with Enactus.

ENACTUS is a society that has formed at Cardiff University over the past year. Encompassing all things entrepreneurial, Enactus looks to build student’s enterprise skills whilst giving back to society. Working on a variety of projects ENACTUS, Cardiff has developed community of student, academic and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better more sustainable world.

Ross, an accounting student at CU, recently joined Enactus Cardiff and has written a guest blog about his experiences since joining the society. If you are interested in getting involved with ENACTUS please contact: youngst@cardiff.ac.uk

“I had no plans to join Enactus until I joined. I met Brendan, the President of Enactus, after he gave a speech to the Enterprise ambassadors. Brendan was the only member of Enactus as last years members were all third years that had left. During the speech, Brendan explained to us all what Enactus was all about.

Enactus is a worldwide organization that comprises of teams through various University societies. Enactus is all about empowering and enabling people and communities that need the most help, through enterprise and business skills.  Long-established Enactus societies around the globe have helped and improved the lives of many struggling communities; be it through starting a company which teaches African villagers to make soap to reduce the risk of disease, or starting a  tour guide business employing homeless people.

After speaking to Brendan about his plans to grow Enactus Cardiff from scratch I was interested in taking part. I was chosen for the position of Treasurer. Enactus Cardiff is now made up of 10 members with various positions. Together we are in the process of forming 3 different projects. With our social project, we have been helping the local Cathay’s Community centre. The social project team is in the process of setting up an elderly support centre to reach out to the elderly in the local community. The commercial project team is developing a t-shirt business with the aim of selling branded t-shirts on behalf of a recent widow. We also have a foreign project in development in Tanzania where we are hoping to provide a much-needed waste management system to help reduce pollution; whilst providing employment to a country with high unemployment.

As a new society we have a long way to go. However, we are beginning to make the first steps. This was shown through our team winning the regional award at the recent nationwide Enactus training event in Grantham.”

Enactus are always on the look out for enterprising individuals that want to make a difference. If you would like to be involved with this rewarding and inclusive society, please visit our Enactus page for more information or contact youngst@cardiff.ac.uk .

 

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Guest Blog – Keith MacGregor, Founder of MacGregor Marketing

This evening, Keith MacGregor will be presenting an enterprise workshop titled “How to find your market”. The session is at 6 pm until 8 pm, in Room 4J, 4th floor of the Student’s Union. Keith worked as Head of Sales and Marketing for British Gas, managing over 700 people with a budget of over £2m. In 1994, Keith left in order to start his own marketing firm, and has gone on to work with many high profile clients across Wales, Britain and Europe, in a variety of sectors including education, sport, automotive and construction. In this special guest blog, Keith explains what drove him to make the leap into entrepreneurship and some of the challenges he’s faced along the way.

  1. Tell us a bit about yourself, and how you came up with the idea for your business

I started the business 20 years ago, after leaving British Gas where I was the Sales and Marketing Director. Marketing was my profession and meeting and marrying a fellow marketer gave us the idea to start our own business.

  1. Did you always see self-employment as a viable career option, or did you stumble upon it?

I had thought about it off and on and it was always something I wanted to do as I didn’t want to spend my whole career just doing one thing. It was tough to get used to but also it fitted in with what we wanted out of life.

  1. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome in starting-up?

The biggest challenge was realising that no matter what you had achieved in employment, you started your own business with a clean slate and had to prove yourself all over again and against very established competitors. Finding a place in the market is hard until you can establish yourself.

  1. What has been the most exciting development in your business so far?

Getting to work with companies in other countries was a big thrill and also a huge challenge.

  1. What do you feel is the most rewarding aspect of running your own business?

The original reason for setting up was to run a business around a very young family and combining the two gave us the challenges of business as well as the pleasure of being able to watch your children grow up. Also working with a range of clients makes every day different so you never get bored.

  1. What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Never think that you can go into running your own business with anything les than 100% commitment. Those who succeed do so because they are single minded and determined. Nothing less will do. Also spend time planning and putting your business idea together. It may take longer but it will give you a much greater chance of success.

The Embedded Enterprise Exchange

New: The Embedded Exchange, 3rd December 12.45, Council Chamber, Main Building [register]

From the essence of our graduates being able to make ideas happen, Cardiff University Enterprise aim to support the development of contextualised discipline led enterprise related attributes, so that students’ can go on to make a difference.  Cardiff University Enterprise offers specialist curriculum development support for the embedding of attributes associated with enterprise and entrepreneurship.

Enterprise has a connection to employability, innovation, commercialisation, knowledge transfer and business start-up and therefore can be considered a graduate attribute.  Enterprise can be linked to a range of intellectual, emotional and social skills that allow for the application of creative ideas and innovations.  It can include ideas development, taking the initiative, critical thinking, identifying opportunities, innovation, problem solving, making things happen, networking, communication, strategic thinking and decision making.  Graduate attributes associated with enterprise link to a learner’s capacity for innovative thinking.  Enterprise often involves a sense of ‘practical action’, whereas entrepreneurship is more readily associated with business venture creation.

The strategy adopted by Cardiff University Enterprise is not to bolt-on, but to work with academics to contextualise enterprise for their own discipline.  In this way the attributes developed have a relevance to the discipline, can allow for advanced subject understanding and appear to gain strong student feedback.

Embedded Enterprise & Employability Exchange | register now

Colleagues from across the institution can expect to;
• Recognise new approaches to enterprise and employability education
• Outline ideas for embedded attribute development
• Develop ideas for advancing one’s own teaching for attribute development
• Consider the practical concept of contextualising skills for deeper learning and employability

Colleagues from across our institution are supplementing knowledge based teaching with attribute development approaches that allow students’ to identify opportunities, develop ideas, become problem solvers and critical thinkers who go on to make a difference.  The Exchange aims to bring together academics to share knowledge, and explore opportunities for advancing teaching that develops a capability to be more enterprising and innovative.

  • 3rd December 2014 | 4th February 2015 | 13th May 2015
  • Council Chamber, Main Building
  • 12.45-14.45pm [lunch from 12.45pm; start time 1pm]

Each of the dates will open by briefly outlining the current drivers before moving to the presentation of an active example from those involved.  The latter part of the session will offer a practical opportunity to gain insight in to developing one’s own curricula. Each of the dates will offer a different case example outlined by an academic, and where possible, the students who are the recipients of the advanced learning approach.

[register]

Enterprise Ambassador Blog – Adam Dixon

We thought it might be interesting for our student ambassadors to reflect on their time here as Cardiff University students. What did they enjoy and did they take advantage of all the opportunities available to them? In this post, Adam Dixon, who’s currently studying an MEng in Mechanical Engineering, tells us what advice he would give himself if he was starting university again.

When I was starting my first year of university, I did not work as hard as I should have. I missed many lectures and neglected my academic development. For example, I did not put many hours into my Finite Element Analysis (FEA) workshops. This was very foolish of me, as it wasn’t until my Industrial Placement until I realized the full potential of FEA and Computer Aided Design in launching an enterprise. After working with programs such as AutoCAD and Solidworks on my placement, I became confident with the technology and started trading. I could have done this 2 years earlier if I put my head down and worked! I could have been trading at a higher level than I am currently.

 

This story illustrates a personal example of the sheer levels of opportunity that university provides. We are taught cutting edge material and have access to laboratories, workshops, fully stocked libraries and ample computer access. There are very few places outside of the university that can provide such a hot-bed for innovation and Entrepreneurialism. Many of us are involved in amazing projects during our third and fourth years, exposing us directly to potentially world breaking research.

 

Personal confidence plays a great role in the ability of people, as a more confident person is exposed to more opportunity. Therefore doing confidence building things such as expanding social networks, cooking from fresh ingredients at home, regular exercise (my next target!), and developing professional and academic skills have and will improve my confidence and get me out there more.

 

Therefore, I would advise myself (after giving myself a big kick in the rear):

  • Work hard and play hard – the process of working hard and achieving results is a snowballing motion of confidence building and self-improvement.
  • Develop your social network more – getting involved with more and more people strengthens the opportunity to make more friends and connections for the future.
  • Cook at home from fresh – cooking for yourself and friends using raw ingredients is a great way save money, eat healthily and relax. You can store excess food in the freezer for a fast microwave meal.
  • Keep a regular exercise regime – having lapsed for the last 4 years, I can definitely remember how great it felt to be fit and lean.
  • Always be on the lookout for opportunities – look at the Cardiff University message board, the Student Competitions website, maintain a presence on O-Desk and E-Lance and talk to Enterprise about any ideas (even naff ones like making musky home brew).

Guest Blogger – Grant Wilton, B2B IT Services

We always find it so inspiring to hear entrepreneurs talk about their experiences. Often running your own business is as much about a personal journey as it is about a business one! As part of our series of Guest Blogs, we’re asking inspiring entrepreneurs to tell us their stories. 

This week we hear from Grant Wilton, who started his own IT business after being made redundant. Grant will be talking at the Confessions of an Entrepreneur session, 6 pm until 8 pm, on the 30th of October, Room C.013 Sir Martin Evans. Book your place here

1.       Tell us a bit about yourself, and how you came up with the idea for your business

I  was a regional IT Manager working for a large insurance company. I got made redundant at 40 and decided to start my own business. With a partner, we created an IT support business with the aim of providing Enterprise-level IT functions but for smaller businesses.

2.       Did you always see self-employment as a viable career option, or did you stumble upon it?

I was slightly forced into it, but needed the push of losing my job.

3.       What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome in starting-up?

Learning to cope with the challenge of being self-employed and having to deal with all the issues and challenges which would normally be dealt with by “someone else” in a larger company.

4.       What has been the most exciting development in your business so far?

Being an employer and responsible for the livelihood of other people, while ensuring they do not feel as I did when I did when I worked for others.

5.       What do you feel is the most rewarding aspect of running your own business?

Sounds corny, but doing a good job and running a happy company

6.       What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Make sure whatever you are doing is scalable. Be really careful when taking on staff; they can make or break the business…

Guest Blogger – Rachel Walker, Euphoria Show Choir

We always find it so inspiring to hear entrepreneurs talk about their experiences. Often running your own business is as much about a personal journey as it is about a business one! As part of our series of Guest Blogs, we’re asking inspiring entrepreneurs to tell us their stories.  

This week we are talking to Rachel Walker, founder of Euphoria Show Choir. Rachel is speaking as part of our guest speaker series, on Thursday the 9th of October 18:00-20:00, at the Large Shandon Lecture Theatre, 1.64 Main Building. For more information; click this link.

rachel

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, and how you came up with the idea for your business

After graduating from Cardiff University Music Department, I began teaching singing from my home. It started as a small business, but when I was invited into local secondary schools to teaching singing there too, my business gradually grew. I also set up a few vocal harmony groups, and composed songs.

When Glee first aired on British TV in 2010, many of my singing students mentioned how much they’d love to be in a show choir, but there weren’t any in our area of the country. Along with my colleagues Tina Kelly and Emma Mason, who are both dancers, we set up our own show choir.

2. Did you always see self-employment as a viable career option, or did you stumble upon it?

I always liked the idea of being my own boss, and working the hours I wanted. I love working in lots of different areas of music, so being self employed gave me the time to be creative and work with other musicians, dancers etc on a variety of different projects.

It was a very conscious decision to be self-employed. I wanted to be in charge of my own career, and keep pushing myself to achieve more

3. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome in starting-up?

To begin with, in both my singing teaching practice and setting up Euphoria Show Choir, it’s difficult to build up interest in what you do. If people don’t know who you are, you aren’t gaining students from recommendations, so therefore it’s financially a bit tight. My best advice is to persevere, and keep publicising yourself and your business. Network as much as you can, and gradually people will begin to know you and your business.

4. What has been the most exciting development in your business so far?

I think that has to be when we performed in New York in the National Show Choir Championships of America. From a performance we gave as part of the Britain’s Got Talent winners, Spelbound, tour, we were talent spotted from the performance footage on Youtube, and were invited to New York! The performance there opened many doors for us as a choir, and for me as a composer, and director. From this performance, we have won multiple awards, and have been invited to perform in venues all over the world. I composed a song, Body On Mute, as one of the songs we performed in New York. This song has since won three awards, been performed on Sky TV, BBC radio, American Radio, Canadian TV and has been made the official anthem for Beat Bullying. The lyrics are even on a range of American Apparel t shirts!

Since New York, I have also been invited to judge many international show choir competitions. I am the only British musician to ever have done this, so it’s a real honour.

5. What do you feel is the most rewarding aspect of running your own business?

Being your own boss is wonderful! It allows you to use all your talents and keep evolving your business into what you want. You also can’t blame anyone else if you don’t work hard enough, and have to keep going even when you don’t feel inspired. Running my own business is the most challenging but the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.

6. What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

My best advice is to persevere, and keep publicising yourself and your business. Network as much as you can, and gradually people will begin to know you and your business.

Euphoria show choir began with only 6 members, but we kept advertising the choir, asked local radio stations if we could sing live on air, and before we knew it, the choir had grown to 20 talented singers and dancers. Since then, it has grown every year.

It’s also important to keep on top of advances and new information in your field. Be willing to keep learning.