You may have seen adverts around the University over the last few weeks for the Big Ideas Competition, in which entrepreneurial students can pitch business ideas and enter to win an impressive prize. Here, Josh Clarke talks about his entry last year:
This competition welcomes all students to come-up with a business idea, enter it into the competition, and possibly win 12 months in the Hub, a trip to Virginia, USA and up to $25,000!
I would personally recommend any student to enter this competition, even if you don’t know anything about business. As some of you may know, I am a psychology student, this means that I barely know anything about starting-up or running a business. Despite this, last year my housemate Joe (history student) and I decided to have a go at the Big ideas competition because ‘why not?’. As second year students looking to the future, we wanted to make it easier for students like us to get jobs after university, so we came up with our business idea: Occumi.
After spending a few days researching things such as our target market and competitors; we submitted our application. As we had only thought of our idea a week earlier, we did not expect to get through to the next stage of the competition. However, luckily for us the judges liked the idea and we got through to the final 8 where we had present a dragons’ den style pitch to a panel of 6 expert judges. This was something neither of us had ever done before, and it was a bit scary, but we pitched our business and managed to answer their questions.
We found out a few days later that we finished third overall in the competition, and received some very positive feedback from the judges! Although we didn’t actually win the competition, we were both proud that our week or so of hard work paid off, and that actual businesspeople liked our idea!
Entering the Big Ideas competition last year has gone on to be the best decision that I have made at University. Since the big Ideas competition Joe and I have pursued and developed Occumi. We now have the backing of an investor, and have had several meetings with members of our industry. We hope to have Occumi.com launched in September 2017 to help you lot get jobs after uni! This is not something that is unique to us, the winners last year have done the same with their product ‘ELog’.
On top of that, in the short few weeks from entering the competition to pitching our idea to the panel I have learnt so much about business. Joe and I genuinely enjoyed working on Occumi and we still do! We’ve both decided that rather than work for somebody else in a big company, we would much rather work for ourselves on something we can be proud of.
Finally, without the skills and experience I gained from entering the big ideas competition, I would not be writing this blog post now, as I would not have had the experience to get this job as student ambassador!
As you can see from my experience, this competition is a great opportunity to dip your toe into the business world. I would recommend every single student to at least consider entering, maybe a quick five-minute brainstorm with your housemates will uncover the winning idea!
Visit https://www.kent.ac.uk/enterprise/hub/bigideas.html to download the application form.
Remember you have until the 15th March to enter.
For more information on my business, Occumi: www.facebook.com/occumi & www.instagram.com/occumi