We were delighted to be asked to deliver three sessions as part of the UWS Business Network in October. The initiative aimed to give students the chance to experience innovation and entrepreneurship in a way that would work for them, opening up opportunities that perhaps they hadn’t considered before and developing the skills and confidence to explore them.
Our Enterprise and Innovation Director, Ann Davidson, gives an insight into the sessions below.
The Enterprise and Innovation team delivered three core workshops with each two hour workshop representing a key stage in the enterprising journey and a module in SIE’s Innovation and Enterprise Programme. Working with the students at UWS was great fun as well as illuminating, giving SIE valuable insight into the passion students have for entrepreneurship and the support they would like at each stage of the journey. We look forwards to seeing many of the students again as future SIE and UWS competition winners, and young entrepreneurs of the future.
Workshop 1: The Discovery Process – Igniting your skills for innovation and opportunity recognition
This first workshop was interactive from the outset with participants hearing from UWS students and young Innovator, Calum Harper. He explained how he came up with his idea for a new camera mount and the value he sees in his idea for potential customers.
Tapping into Calum’s experiences and advice, the students practised techniques for scanning the external environment to identify trends, opportunities and threats that could give rise to new opportunities around which ideas can be generated. Students then looked at how to develop ideas with value by crafting a value proposition with a key relationship or ‘magic fit’ between what ideas can offer the potential customer and why that customer might buy or use the idea.
Workshop 2: Pursuing your idea and commercialisation
The majority of the students wanted to take an idea forward so workshop 2 looked at how to craft key elements of a business around an idea and develop a business model to take the idea forward to commercialisation. Students gained practical experience by using the Business Model Canvas (BMC) as a tool to visualise what their business might look like and experiment with different business models. They then used their chosen model to identify and carry out the next steps in their entrepreneurial journey, including market research, raising funds and building networks.
Workshop 3: Launching an idea
Using the knowledge they gained from the previous workshop, the students highlighted key areas that they wanted to cover as they worked towards pursuing their ideas. This included recognising the skills that they could bring to their teams and how to play to their strengths. Students also indicated that would continue to use the business model canvas to write a business plan, investigate Intellectual Property and build rough and rapid prototypes to test their ideas.
“Thanks to SIE we are able to run many more enterprise events than otherwise and to offer our students a simple and smooth pathway to start-up activity. SIE provides the perfect interface between university and the wider Scottish enterprise network.” Steve Talbot, Lecturer in Economics and Enterprise at UWS.