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CEES Panel Event 2018


Dream big. Have ideas and ambitions which inspire you to get started. But start small and build up momentum as you go along.

On Tuesday 30 October 2018, the first speaker event of the academic year took place. Dr Richard Tunstall chaired a panel discussion on entrepreneurial start-up journeys. This Q&A Panel consisted of entrepreneurs at different stages of their start-up journey discussing the highlights and pitfalls of starting up and explained their personal experience of turning ideas into reality.  Richard was joined by:

Bec Evans - Founder and CEO of Prolifiko which is an artificial intelligence tool for writers.

James Gupta - Founder and CEO of Synap which is an education tool to create revision materials such as tests and quizzes for students.

Sam Morgan - Founder and CEO of Paria which produces disruptive fashion cycling apparel.

Greg Preece - Founder of ‘Start Starting Up’ and current Msc Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Student at the University of Leeds.

The event started with a conversation about what inspired these entrepreneurs to start their businesses and how their idea came about.  Everybody’s business ideas stemmed from personal experience, for example, Bec Evans found that writers, like herself, had a problem with procrastination and therefore developed a digital working coach “I had an interest in technology helping a creative thing like writing,” she said. Similarly, James Gupta started Synap when he was a student himself and wanted to create an engaging revision tool, “Being my own target audience, a student, I knew what was missing in the market,” he claims. Second year BA Management student reported

Listening to and engaging with successful entrepreneurs and their stories further motivates me to work hard to where I want to be in the future and follow my passion of starting a business.

Sam Morgan made a great point when answering “What would your advice be to your younger self?”, he said “Realise that you can’t do everything by yourself and that other people can help you, admit you are not good at something and get help with it if you need it. You can’t be an expert at everything.”  A statement reinforced by Greg Preece as he claims he struggled to delegate tasks to others: “Embrace collaboration with people, others can help you with something that you are not good at.” Many entrepreneurs struggle with delegation when starting a business which can be due to being afraid of somebody else doing the work wrong, however this is also what can hold people back. As a business grows, it can become impossible and unrealistic to juggle everything alone. Greg Preece states “Since I have started to outsource tasks, more creativity has flown into the business. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!”

Motivation has been a challenge, you’ve got to want to do it and get out of bed to do it, for not a lot of money. Get your priorities in order, if you are passionate enough about it, it should be relatively easy to do.

Attendees then had the opportunity to ask questions. An interesting question was “Does luck play a part in success?”  All panellists were in agreement that by going to the right places, doing the right things and giving yourself the right exposure you will come across luck, it doesn’t just find you. Through hard work and passion was how the success story of our entrepreneurs began, and pure luck is very rare. We had an overwhelming response and great engagement from the audience which meant that not all questions could be answered.  If attendees have any unanswered questions please get in touch on the details provided below.

James Gupta advises “If I could talk to my younger self, I would spend more time reading and doing research whilst it’s free at university and although it might not seem like it right now, you, as students, have more free time than you ever will in the future.”

If you are interested in attending events such as this in the future, make sure to check us out on Facebook and Twitter where we post about upcoming events and opportunities available to students across all faculties.

Any questions, feedback or just want to get in touch? Contact the CEES Centre Administrator Natalie Jackson via our contact page here.