The students are part of the University of Southampton’s Foundership Scheme funding and a support programme which helps progress new business ideas over a 12 week period. I was invited to meet these guys to hear about what they are doing and offer advice and suggestions to guide the development of their propositions.
They come from backgrounds as diverse as law, engineering, computing and music. But they all have one thing in common. Ambition.
In the session, I learned about their business and product ideas. The range of thinking was excellent. The students are covering all bases. From wearable tech that enhances muscle use; to fresh warm bread delivered to your campsite tent each morning. Plus a whole lot in between, some of which are ‘top-secret,’ so I shall say no more on those details.
The session reminded me of how important early-stage innovators and entrepreneurs are in terms of breeding confidence and hope for the future. This is a big part of why I love what I do with Venturefest South. The guys I talked to are representative of a new breed of entrepreneur. There are loads of them around the world, young people with big ideas looking for their chance. Sure, some of the ideas won’t come off but there is no progress without effort and the ambition they display will help drive our economy forward.
It got me thinking about how some highly successful businesses and initiatives have started in tough times. If you are trying to do the same right now then I recommend you read WILL (King of Shaves) KING’s book on the subject.
The big topic of our online workshop with the founder's group was brand and marketing. And, rather than talking about logos and IP my recommendation was they focus first on the people that are most likely to affect the success of a business. We looked at the benefits of developing persona packs of their target customers and stakeholders and how, by doing this, they will better understand the value, features and marketing of their product or service to their potential customers. It's a massive part of brand and marketing work that gets missed, forgotten or ignored. Entrepreneurs established businesses and even marketing directors can get too caught up in their own view of the world to consider it from any other angle. If you are interested in this check out our New World Marketing Guide.
No matter what stage you may be at - a startup to multinational - we believe now is the right time to reconsider your assumptions on what matters most to your customer base.
All in all, this is a long way round for me saying to you the reader...
“The future is bright as there are always plenty of people with brilliant ideas, working hard to do amazing things that will benefit fit us all long term”
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