tarting your own business can be an attractive alternative to employment and further study.

On this page you’ll find:

1) The Business Start-Up Journey (ASPIRE, KBS)
2) Support and programmes – University of Kent
3) Other Resources & information for Chinese students
4) Success stories from University of Kent and KBS alumni


1) The Business Start-Up Journey (ASPIRE, KBS)

The Business Start-Up Journey is an inspirational entrepreneurship accelerator programme over 12 weeks, providing a step-by-step road map to starting a business. It is housed in the new state-of-the-art ASPIRE space (Accelerator Space for Innovation and Responsible Enterprise) in the Sibson building.

Student entrepreneurs are fully supported, and industry professionals deliver Working Lunch sessions on a full range of essential start-up knowledge – from market research to product launch, spotting trends to raising finance.

There are opportunities for collaboration which bring students together to share skills – forging new partnerships and networks.

The ASPIRE entrepreneur in residence and tech entrepreneur in residence offer one-to-one guidance and support helping students identify and explore innovation opportunities and develop robust business plans.

Experienced business experts, entrepreneurs and investors act as mentors for students helping to further develop and refine business plan, whilst enhancing employability skills for those who want to start their careers working for others, as well as those who want to be their own boss.

Last year the Business Start-Up Journey worked with more than 40 student entrepreneurs.

To take part, email ASPIRE@kent.ac.uk or see us in 103 Sibson.

“Before the Business Start-Up Journey, I hadn’t thought beyond buying some T-shirts, selling some T-shirts and spending the money!
Now I really see that I can make this into a business and I can’t wait to get going.”

Second Year Business Management student, Emmanuel  Enemokuwu, launched clothing range Jehu-cal (www.jehu-cal.com).

2) Support and programmes at the University of Kent

make-your-mark

The University of Kent Enterprise and Innovation department runs the Make Your Mark programme, designed to prepare students for employment or self-employment by delivering a package of innovative and creative extra-curricular activities designed to increase your skills, abilities, experience and confidence from first year to Master’s level. There are three initiatives:

1) Employability Points Scheme (a unique initiative that has attracted national attention; the scheme awards points for engaging in extracurricular activities, depending on level of engagement and commitment; points lead to prizes ranging from corporate activities to work experience, training and selected internships)

2) Hub Student Enterprise (consisting of competitions, workshops and awards, such as the Enterprise Skills Award, designed to enhance students’ skills and abilities whilst providing them with additional core skills required by a fast-paced employment market)

3) Hub Hub for Innovation and Enterprise (the University of Kent’s business incubation and support unit and is devoted to helping student, graduate and staff start-up ventures and early stage companies to increase survival rates. They offer a range of services to help potential entrepreneurs develop and get the most out of their ideas.)

The Hub provides business support services to incubator companies, flexible office space and laboratory accommodation (where available). Companies also get access to University expertise, planning help and networking opportunities with the wider business community. To find out more about the Hub for Innovation and Enterprise at Kent email unikenthub@kent.ac.uk or telephone: +44 (0)1227 824641.

3) Other Resources

  • The Prince’s Trust (click on heading), for anyone aged 18-30, living in the UK, and unemployed or working fewer than 16 hours a week. Must have a business idea or some ideas to explore.
  • UK Government Information about legalities, tax and anything else you need to know to comply with rules and regulations for setting up a business in the UK.

A free and open access, e-learning resources site to support the employability of all UK-educated Chinese students, available in both, English and Mandarin. Developed by the University of Warwick in conjunction with both, Chinese and UK universities.

The Innovate2GetAhead e-learning resources provide Chinese students with an introduction to innovation skills and developing an innovative mind-set. It is aimed at all students, as the activities and case studies can be applied to students looking to go on and work for organisations; for students wishing to develop their own family business and for students looking to start or develop their own business.

Other useful sites in alphabetic order:

  • BRIGHTSIDE START-UP LOANS
    A scheme for anyone aged 18-30 with a business idea. As a partner in the government-backed Start-Up Loans scheme, Brightside offers an experienced business mentor to help develop your business ideas plus a loan of around £2,500 to get going. For information and how to apply for a loan visit the Brightside Start-Up Loans website. If you have any questions, email startuploans@thebrightsidetrust.org.
  • FRANCHISING: Click here for information about franchising and advertised franchising opportunities.
  • NACUE (National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs)
    A nationwide network of student societies taking positive action to create an enterprising generation. Founded in 2009, the organisation supports the creation of enterprise societies in education institutions throughout the UK; organises regular events where students can learn from experts and each other, distributes funds to societies, and is a national advocate for students in discussions of employment and education. Job vacancies with NACUE itself can be found at http://nacue.com/jobs/.

4) Success stories from University of Kent and KBS alumni

Becky Campbell

Becky Campbell, MD Reflect Digital and Kent Excellence in Business Awards (KEiBA)Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2015.

With just a few thousand pounds to start with, Becky started her own PR company five years ago and is now employing 24 staff. Becky advised students at the Business Start Up Day that it is OK to make mistakes, it is all part of starting a business. Becky advised the importance of having a plan and stressed some important attributes such as being a team player and to think of the long game. Becky encouraged students to take advantage of the Business Start-Up Journey and to apply for it.

Michael Muzio

Michael Muzio, MD of insurance company Now4Cover

Michael’s back ground is in Insurance and has just recently launched a new Rochester-base business Now4Cover which has already attracted new customers.

When it comes to starting a business Michael stressed the importance in having belief in yourself and used some film clippings from Indiana Jones film series and a great speech by Al Pacino to make his point. ‘You’ve just got to do it.’ said Michael.

Sandher Bal

Bal Sandher, MD, Hectic Lifestyles Ltd

Bal, a Kent alumnus, told students that he broke his leg 5 years ago and had six months unable to move about – but it gave him plenty of thinking time about starting his own businesses. Recognising a gap in the market, Bal launched Hectic lifestyles and is projected to turnover £10m by 2020.

Bal’s advice key message was about innovation and the importance of differentiating your product or service and the great rewards being an entrepreneur can bring. Bal urged all those students at the University to seize a unique chance to apply for later stages of the Business Start Up Journey.

Carl Lincoln, wiser wealthier
Carl is a KBS alumnus with a first degree in Business Studies and a master’s in Value Chain Management. Following a highly successful year in industry in a marketing role and a continued career in this field, he took the plunge to start his own business called ‘Wiser Wealthier’ – an online business providing free personal training for personal finance, financial tips and advise to students and young people.

Neil Westwood (1994, Management Science)

Neil is passionate about getting more students involved in business. At university he learnt about marketing, operations research and different management styles and over the last 8 years his team have established Magic Whiteboard as the most successful investment on BBC Dragons’ Den (Theo’s and Deborah’s). They have now sold over £4 million of Magic Whiteboard and export to over 20 countries. Here is their Dragons’ Den clip

Neil Westwood

Neil invented Magic Whiteboard because he was fed up carrying the flipchart stand around the organisation he worked for (he used to be a trainer for the NHS for 17 years). He needed a portable lightweight solution that was easy to carry.

Magic Whiteboard is a portable whiteboard on a roll that you can use to turn any room into a classroom. Tear off sheet of Magic Whiteboard and place on a wall, window or door. It clings using static and leaves no marks on any surfaces. You write on Magic Whiteboard with any dry marker, wipe clean and reuse. Here is a 1 min video.

If you currently use flipcharts and flipcharts stands Magic Whiteboard – is a lot easier to use and you don’t have to keep moving the flipchart stand. You will also save paper and you won’t damage walls with Bluetack marks.

If you would like some support and advice, just email Neil at neil@magicwhiteboard.co.uk or telephone 01905 451552.

Neil Westwood, Managing Director, Magic Whiteboard Limited
www.magicwhiteboard.co.uk – Create a whiteboard from a roll – anywhere, in seconds!