The Business Start-Up Journey 2018-19

Sign up now and start a business while you study at Kent


The Business Start-Up Journey is an inspirational programme which brings student business start-up ideas to life.

This 12-week co-curricular programme will provide you with a step-by-step guide to starting a business, teaching you the skills that are required to be a successful entrepreneur.

The programme welcomes all students from Kent Business School, the School of Computing and the School of Economics at the University of Kent. The Journey will largely be based in the ASPIRE space (Accelerator Space for Innovation and Enterprise) in the Sibson building, Canterbury. However events will take place across both the Canterbury and Medway campuses.

The programme’s focus on innovation will enhance your employability. You will learn how to assess risk, how to turn challenges into opportunity and develop leadership, communication, presentation and team-working skills.

Six steps to success

1. Be inspired

Meet successful business people and fellow student entrepreneurs. Take part in the Ideas Hack to discover or develop your own business idea. Find new partners to work with.

2. Explore and learn

Work with business experts to learn about key business start-up areas including market research, product launch, social media and intellectual property.

3. Get investor-ready

Develop your business plan with one-to-one advice from our Entrepreneur in Residence and Tech Entrepreneur in Residence.

4. Refine your strategy

Get one-to-one support and advice from our pool of successful entrepreneur mentors.

5. Showcase your idea

Pitch your business to the experts, makes valuable new connections and get the chance to win cash prizes to set up your business.

6. Be your own boss

You’re in business. Use your new-found skills to get a first foot on the career ladder.

Student Success

Oliver Salisbury and Callum Messiter

Student Entrepreneurs – Waitr

Oliver Salisbury and Callum Messiter are co-founders of Waitr, an app which lets restaurant customers order and pay for their food through their smartphone.

They were winners of last year’s Business Start-Up Journey and received £1,000 prize to help execute their business.

Nadia Simpson

Student Entrepreneur – esi

Nadia Simpson, KBS Accounting & Finance with a Year in Industry, created esi – a business offering bespoke vitamin and herbal treatment packages. She is focusing on building her presence on social media and providing treatment boxes for clients before launching her website later this year.

Niccolo Paglia

Student Entrepreneur – E-Jobs

Niccolo Paglia is an International Business student at Kent Business School. His business idea, E-Jobs – a multi-media CV creation platform – secured a £500 prize in the finals of the 2018 Business Start- Up Journey.

Key dates

The majority of the Business Start-Up Journey will be delivered on Wednesday afternoons, making it easy to fit around your studies.

The Campus Shuttle is a free coach service between Medway and Canterbury campuses. The service operates 7 days a week term-time only and the journey takes approximately 50 minutes.

After the Business Start-Up Journey Launch, the times and locations of all events will be supplied to all students wishing to continue on the Journey.

Wednesday 31 October | The Business Start-Up Journey Launch – Medway
Pop-up market
Meet the Business Start-Up Journey team and find out more about how the Journey could help you. Afterwards, join us for a buffet and networking.
Wednesday 7 November | The Business Start-Up Journey Launch – Canterbury
Daniel Rubin keynote speech
Hear from keynote speaker Daniel Rubin, meet the Business Start-Up Journey team and find out how the Journey could help you. Afterwards join us for a buffet and networking.
Wednesday 14, 21, 28 November | Identifying the problem, scoping the solution and building your business
Our first three sessions tackle the essential of any successful business; solving problems. In simple stages you are guided through how to identify your potential customers, understanding their wants and needs and how to build a business around solving their problems.
Saturday 1 December | Bootcamp – Ideas Hackathon
Building your skills to generate new ideas and find collaborators to launch your business is the basis of our first bootcamp
Wednesdays: 5 December, 16 and 23 January 2019 | Know the competition, understand your customers, build your prototype
In these sessions you will gain an understanding of the space you’re working in, be guided in undertaking market research of both your competitors and your customers, and be shown how to build a prototype that will allow you to test your idea before you launch.
Wednesday 30 January | Google digital marketing masterclass
Internet giants, Google, share their top tips in using digital marketing to launch and grow your business.
Saturday 2 February | Bootcamp – Proof of Concept
Test your ideas online and in the real world supported by your fellow entrepreneurs and the ASPIRE team.
Wednesday 6 February | Build your business on social media
Understand how you can harness the power of social media and create content to bring your business to your customers.
Wednesday 20 February | Getting ready to pitch
Learn how to build the perfect pitch to attract investors and improve your presentation skills.
Saturday 2 March | Bootcamp – Pitching
Build your communication and presentation skills to impress potential investors and customers.
Wednesday 20 March | Pitching finals and showcase
Selected students will be invited to pitch their ideas to judges with the chance of winning £1,000 top prize. All students on the Business Start-Up Journey will be invited to join the exciting showcase of ideas which will be viewed by business experts and investors.

The Business Start-Up Journey Team

Adam Smith / Entrepreneur in Residence

An experienced entrepreneur, Adam runs a management consultancy and has diversified into angel investing in start-up companies. On the Business Start-Up Journey, Adam will mentor you through the start-up process, providing you with critical support and advice

Rebecca Smith / ASPIRE Project Officer

Rebecca coordinates all things Business Start-Up Journey. With 18 years’ experience as a journalist, Rebecca uses her extensive network to ensure the best possible support and advice is available to you as you progress on the Journey.

Jason Marshall / Tech Entrepreneur in Residence

Jason has been a successful IT consultant for 10 years. On the Business Start-Up Journey, Jason will help test the viability and feasibility of your business propositions with a focus on innovative technology ideas.


The Business Start-Up Journey Mentors include:

Akash Agarwal / GM, SAP´s Enterprise Mobile Business

Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur, Akash has 22 years of experience in high tech. He has held a variety of roles, including Founder and CEO of two venture-backed companies. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BSc in Computer Science from Kent.

Laura Bounds / Managing Director, Kent Crisps and Kentish Condiments

Laura’s specialism is marketing and the retail of food and drink. Laura says: ‘A good idea is great, but what business is about, is spotting an opportunity.’

Ben Fitter-Harding / Studio Director, Dodgems & Floss

Tech entrepreneur and start-up investor, Ben, developed his first business from an idea into a multi-million pound company. He has a deep knowledge of all aspects of running and growing a business.


Contact Us

If you want more information on how to get involved with the Business Start-Up Journey please contact the ASPIRE team.


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