Students Staff

29 June 2010

Business boot camp trains up future entrepreneurs

Colchester Campus

Essex Boot Camp winners with Vice-Chancellor Colin Riordan and Charles Wells from Kinship Networking

Leading entrepreneurs mentored students from the University of Essex at the first-ever Essex Boot Camp - culminating with a Dragon’s Den style competition to decide who walked away with the top prize of £500.

Students from the Colchester and Southend campuses were put through their paces at the fast-moving boot camp created by the University’s Research and Enterprise Office with support from Santander Universities.

During the day-long event six student teams came up with new business ideas and worked with their mentors on market planning, research, business models, finance, team building and sales.

They then had to pitch their ideas to a judging panel featuring the mentors, the Vice-Chancellor Colin Riordan and Director of Essex Business School Professor Michael Sherer.

University of Essex alumnus Dr Gwyn Jones, who has a reputation for using cutting-edge technology to transform businesses, helped develop the boot camp concept with the University and acted as head mentor during the day.

“All the mentors and I were genuinely surprised at the students’ enthusiasm and truly impressed at their determination to proceed with their business ideas,” said Dr Jones.

“A number of the ideas pitched had real business potential. So much so we are very keen to continue supporting the students. The winning idea in particular has real commercial potential.”

The exciting business ideas dreamt up by students included a pay-as-you-go self service bicycle hire business, but the winner was myWorld’s USB stick - designed to give instant access to a user’s software from any internet device.

The myWorld team included Saad Mohammed, Rebecca Jones and Zain Kukaswadia with support from Kishor Krishnamoorthi and Ashley Elley.

Dr Janice Pittis, Director of the Research and Enterprise Office, said: “The aim of the Essex Boot Camp was to give students access to real-life entrepreneurial expertise, the opportunity to pitch their ideas and receive the kind of feedback which textbooks can’t provide.

“What made this event different to any other was the team of six mentors – all highly successful entrepreneurs - whose business experiences, expertise and advice were crucial to the students. They offered a once in a lifetime insight into the world of business start ups.”

The mentor team included:

  • Gwyn Jones, chairman of RogenSi
  • Charles Wells, founder of kinshipnetworking in London
  • Mike Moylan-Jones, Director of 8works in London
  • Paul Collins, Managing Partner at Equiteq in Surrey
  • The Hon. Robert Jackson
  • Filomena Kettlewell from BlythEden in Southend

...more news releases