So, the StartUp Tour is over. Before you start singing John Lennon (Happy Xmas, War is Over… it rhymes) and wrapping yourself in tinsel and fairy lights, let’s take some time out to recap how StartUp Britain’s wonderful four week adventure went.
For those of you that haven’t heard about the StartUp Tour, here’s a video which sums it up:
It all began in Lewisham on the 15th October: the double-decker bus pulled up to Lewisham College and we rolled out the entrepreneurs, business advisers, and even the Enterprise Advisor to the Prime Minister, Lord Young, to inspire and accelerate enterprise amongst the college’s students.
StartUp Britain then weaved its way through the southern regions of England – spreading entrepreneurial joy through Plymouth, Bristol and Kent. Our journey featured performances from Cynikal, the blossoming of mentor & mentee relationships, and the launch of an enterprise society.
The bus then made its way through south east England, visiting Reading, calling in at the University of East London, and then creeping up to Stevenage, and East Anglia; encountering many inspiring and inspired students. We also encountered a chorus of praise: the Deputy Principal of North Hertfordshire College said that the bus gave an “outstanding opportunity for our students to engage with the increasingly important entrepreneurial agenda. It has provided resources for employment opportunities and sound advice to students of ours who are looking to start a business.”
Here’s a video made by SeaMedia, students at the University of East Anglia:
The third week of the tour took StartUp Britain to the Midlands, and beyond; reaching out to students in Birmingham, Staffordshire, Bolton and Nottingham. StartUp Britain proved to students that there’s nothing scary about starting up, even on Halloween. Our visits brought cupcakes aplenty, Apprentice stars, and some of the youngest entrepreneurs to have graced the bus.
In week four, the bus went up North, to Newcastle and Hull, and passed the Scottish border, visiting students in Edinburgh and Glasgow. The team stumbled upon a rapping entrepreneur in Sheffield, J C Clack, who performed a StartUp Britain freestyle, telling fellow students to “make something out of nothing”, and to “keep on doing your thing”, we met an egg-cellent entrepreneur, who sells specialist eggs on eBay, witnessed a beautiful balloon launch, and a pizza-off.
The team has met some brilliantly determined entrepreneurial students, some business ideas have been risqué – at the University of East Anglia, one student proposed a student sex line (I will say no names). Some have been strangely brilliant – I talked to a college student in Stevenage about a second hand Goth Shop, which would also provide a tattoo parlor for the alternative folk. Some are already underway – a surplus army backpack-selling entrepreneur in Bolton approached the bus to get funding in order to manufacture his own backpacks, as the demand for them in New York is so huge.
Most importantly, an entrepreneurial message has been spread. Nearly 600 business advisers showed a passion for their community, by offering help to local College and University students. CEO of StartUp Britain, Emma Jones, explains the reason why:
“Young people represent part of the future of business and our economic prosperity – that’s why it’s so important to offer them support by delivering the message that they can set up a business”
Not only has our message been spread by our physical presence in Colleges and Universities, alongside the inspiring business advisers, but our social media campaign has made over 7,000,000 impressions over the past month: sparking interest in the #StartUpTour and its delivery of assistance in enterprise.
Not only are students, and the general public, now more aware of the potential of going it alone in business, but those already starting up are being helped along the way. Entrepreneurial students have networked with local business advisers that are happy to help them (avoiding approaching the scary men in suits alone), are now in the process of getting funding for their dream from StartUp Loans, and have walked away with the StartUp Loans Kit, which provides a step-by-step guide on making an idea a reality – and then growing it some more.
Enterprise is bigger than ever – all thanks to the StartUp Britain Bus Tour – we celebrated this on November 14th – otherwise known as StartUp Day - at the British Library with the StartUp Britain Bus in tow.