Week Ten

Enter the Dragon! This week was all about Doug Richard’s From The Dragon’s Mouth all day workshop held in the Great Hall on the Friday. Packed with out will around 100 students that signed up for the Guild’s lead event for their new entrepreneurial program Ignite Doug’s talk was first class. Taking students through the 10 questions that you need to ask yourself when setting up a business Doug analysed the students business ideas as we went making for an entertaining, if not a little daunting afternoon!

Here are the 10 questions Doug set – can you answer them for your business idea?

1. What do we do that people need or want? Are you solving a problem or addressing a need?
2. Who is our customer? Try to be as specific as you can…
3. How do customers find out about our products?
4. What distribution channels should we consider?
5. How much is it worth to the customer?
6. What pricing model should we choose?
7. What kind of relationship do we want with our customers? This is a key question – multiple shallow relationships or fewer deeper ones?
8. Who are we up against?
9. What do we have in common with our industry?
10. What must we be good at? Is there an absolute key skill or service we must be able to do well in order to succeed?

Ignite’s Launch Event!

An excellent and opener to the amazing work The Guild will start with student entrepreneurs at the university. I also had the pleasure of meeting Anne Mari Morris, MP for Newton Abbot, to discuss along with 15 other entrepreneurs how the government can aid small businesses and entrepreneurial young people. Indeed, Morris is actively interested in small businesses, co-chairing the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Micro Businesses. An excellent chance for Exeter students to engage directly with elected members of the government on a whole range of issues. Arising from the meeting was a unanimous determination to get entrepreneurship to the minds of young people at college, encouraging them to enter university with business ideas rather than waiting to finish their degree to come up with ideas!

Anne Marie Morris – Newton Abbot MP

It was also great to see Ed Vickers of Jollie Goods at the meeting, one of the University of Exeter’s top social entrepreneurs. During his first year biology student Ed set up a “wear a pair, share a pair” social enterprise helping provide socks for homeless people. Having worked in homeless shelters in London Ed realised that foot hygiene was something that was essential for living rough on England’s streets, yet many homeless people used their money to buy food rather than look after their feet. With this as his mission Ed received an Innovation Centre grant to help develop his product, business model and marketing strategy. I am proud to say they are now selling strongly throughout the UK, helping Ed to deliver fresh pairs of socks to homeless people across the nation!

Jollie Socks!

Here at MGR Music Tuition LTD things moved along nicely this week, with application for teachers on the Guitar Lessons Bath and Singing Lessons Newcastle websites. While the Guitar Lessons Northampton website was finished and I have been busy adding the final touches to the national website! It will be an exciting few months. I also have the exciting news that I will be going full time in early June to work on MGR Music Tuition! If you have a business idea before then make sure you drop me a line at !

Posted under Anne Marie Morris MP, Ignite, Jollie Goods, SEiR, SoundSYNK

This post was written by Matthew Rusk on March 10, 2013

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Week Nine

This week marked one of the most exciting SETsquared events of the year – The Deloitte Business Pitching Competition! Held in their London Stonecutter Court HQ, just of Fleet Street, the universities of Bath, Bristol, Southampton, Surrey & of course Exeter sent their top five entrepreneurs to win cash prize investments into their businesses. Last year one of the businesses that won the competition went on to gain a reported £100,000 pound investment into their idea, helping to expand their business throughout London – (see where they are now at The Underground Book Club). Representing the University of Exeter at this years’ prestigious event were Instabear, SoundSYNK, Macaw, Carverts and George Edwards. Arriving at the Deloitte HQ at 12 we were quickly thrown into a full networking event before being split off to present the business ideas, along with over 20 other business drawn from the other four universities. First to go was Ali of Macaw Designs, a tailor made fabric business where Ali personally designs iPad, iPhone, Kindle & laptop cases from beautiful materials for you – check out the image below!

Macaw Designs

Macaw Designs – beautifully tailored by Ali Gillum

Ali was followed by Michael of Carverts, a start up company that pays students to all businesses to advertise on their uni cars. Before Carverts handed over to Instabear, who performed an excellent pitch of their Instagram Polaroid picture printing business soon to launch! Our afternoon was rounded off by first class pitches from Tom Charman of George Edwards (a new student clothing business Rampant Sportingesk) and the SoundSYNK team (an Iphone app that synchronises devices to play music in time with one another!).

Carverts – sign up to earn cash while driving in Exeter!

Other notable pitches came from Bath, where one student had created a personalised business to business letter writing company that had an unbelievable rate of clients opening the letters and responding. As ever Elephant Branded made an appearance along with a few other extremely impressive businesses! After a talk from a few of the Deloitte hosts the final awards were announced and we are seriously proud to say that Instabear came second! Losing only slimily to the letter writing business. Great result for the University of Exeter! I think the students got a lot out of the day, experiencing how to prepare a 5 minute investment like pitch, getting a taste for how it feels to work in a huge corporate multi-national like Deloitte as well as networking with some fantastic entrepreneurs from other universities! Great day!

On the home front things are really progressing well with MGR Music, with guitar websites going online in Sunderland, Portsmouth and Reading as well as singing websites being created for Manchester and Derby. As you can see it was a busy week, the flagship Guitar Lessons London website also made great progress this week with the final few things coming together. I will be launching the website on my 22 birthday on the 17 April 2013, very excited! Plenty to do before then, but what a week!

Posted under Carverts, George Edwards, Guitar Lessons London, Instabear, Macaw Designs, MGR Music, SEiR, SetSquared, SoundSYNK, Student Businesses

This post was written by Matthew Rusk on March 3, 2013

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