The largest ever cohort of 40 postgraduate researchers from around the university attended the seventh running of the Manchester Enterprise School in the Lake District from 6-9th July.
The aim was for students and researchers interested in entrepreneurship to gain skills and practice them in a real environment, addressing a real problem in the Lakes and pitching their business idea on the final day. Short sessions introduced each topic which were then immediately put into practice going into Bowness town to speak to real potential customers and suppliers who gave some very candid opinions, as well as using exclusive databases to find market research data, funding sources and checking for intellectual property protection. The evening networking activities were popular which included walks to local viewpoints such as Biskey Howe and Post Knott and of course visits to some of the area’s famous pubs such as the 17th Century The Hole in t’ Wall.
Tutors were from MEC and the EPS Faculty training team, who were aided by some entrepreneurs such as 4lunch founder Amy Win who provided additional feedback and advice to the students while they were shaping their ideas.
The students and researchers found the setting in the Lake District inspirational for generating new commercial or social business ideas, covering a wide spectrum of issues including water engineering, lack of transport and housing, tourism, seasonality of businesses, and the nearby nuclear industry. The winning idea was Food Pigs, which had the aim of both providing local seasonal produce to reduce the carbon footprint and collecting food waste for biomass energy generation.
The enterprise school has proven to be a successful training camp for potential postgraduate entrepreneurs and several students and researchers start up businesses each year after returning to the university, and almost all say they are now using their new skills in the workplace.
For more details please contact Dr Robert A. Phillips (Robert.firstname.lastname@example.org)