As part of Kent Business School’s Business Start-Up Journey, a programme which aims to support the next generation of entrepreneurs, Kent Business School has appointed IT Consultant Jason Marshall as Tech Entrepreneur in Residence. Read more about Jason and how he hopes to support students in his blog
What is your current role?
I am currently the Business Manager for Kent IT Consultancy (KITC). KITC is part of the School of Computing and helps SMEs to make better use of digital technology. I started my career as a scientist, working for Pfizer whilst I studied part-time for a degree in Biological Sciences. During this time, I taught myself to code and ended up becoming a bioinformatician, specialising in creating visualisations of biological data. About ten years ago, I left the pharma industry and moved to London where I did many different software engineering roles, working for a range of different sized businesses (from a three-person start-up, to the Royal Bank of Scotland). After doing a bit of travelling, I came back home to Canterbury, and landed a job at the University of Kent as a Software Engineer for the School of Psychology, before joining the KITC 4 years ago.
What are your areas of expertise?
When it comes to technology I am a jack of all trades. This is the best approach as the tech industry moves so quickly that you have to be careful not to be left behind. I do a lot of reading in areas of technology and management that interest me and try to experiment with the tools and techniques. Currently, I am interested in DevOps, platforms like IBM Bluemix support the rapid development of production-ready software.
‘I hope to be able to share some of the things that I have learnt over the years, and to broaden the scope of this, I want to form a panel of tech experts that can provide advice on a wide range of tech-related topics.’
What are your interests outside of work?
As I spend most of my working time indoors, I like to spend as much time outdoors as possible when I am not at work. I like walking (I have a springer spaniel that needs lots of exercise), canoeing and cooking outdoors.
What are your top three tips for budding tech entrepreneurs?
- Start by building a minimally viable product, and build your solution from there based on user feedback (Read Eric Ries Lean Startup!)
- Don’t get attached to your code – be prepared to throw it away and start again once you understand your solution better.
- Find some co-founders – coding should be a team sport, you will improve your quality by having to explain what you are doing to others.
‘The Business Start-Up Journey is a training ground for anyone who thinks that they have a great idea, or thinks that they’d be great at helping others to develop their great ideas.’
How did you find out about your new role?
I work closely with Kent Business School, and when they mentioned they were recruiting a ‘Tech Entrepreneur in Residence’ I jumped at the opportunity. I hope to be able to share some of the things that I have learnt over the years, and to broaden the scope of this, I want to form a panel of tech experts that can provide advice on a wide range of tech-related topics.
What is the Business Start-Up Journey?
The Business Start-Up Journey is a training ground for anyone who thinks that they have a great idea, or thinks that they’d be great at helping others to develop their great ideas. During the 12 weeks of the journey, you’ll get exposure to successful people who will tell you about tools and techniques for building a business, as well as a great deal of encouragement and support as you begin developing your new business. By the end of the programme, you will have learnt a lot about what it is like to develop a business idea, as well as learning about yourself and how you work.
What are you most looking forward to about the Business Start-Up Journey?
A great lineup of guest speakers has been arranged and I am personally looking forward to learning something new too! I am also really looking forward to meeting the participants, hearing about their ideas, and watching (and hopefully helping) them launch successful businesses!
Why do you think students should join the Business Start-Up Journey?
I think that it is is a great opportunity not only to learn some important skills and techniques but also to meet other like-minded individuals. If you look at some of the tech successes over the last few years, they were founded by small teams (Google, Facebook to name just two). I think the opportunity of bringing together students from Kent Business School, the School of Computing and the School of Economics will provide a great pool of talent from which to grow the management teams of some exciting new ventures.
The Business Start-Up journey kicks off with an inspirational launch on Wednesday 22 November 2017 with headline speaker, the serial tech entrepreneur Tom Ilube. Find out more about the Start-Up Journey and register for the launch event.
Did you enjoy this article? Read our blog My Business Start-Up Journey: Joseph Aina.
Jason Marshall is Kent Business School’s ASPIRE Tech Entrepreneur in Residence.