Finding a future in business
On Wednesday 27 November, we welcomed four entrepreneurs from the local area for a session to inspire our Year 11 pupils about the world of business. Students welcomed David Excell, co-founder of Featurespace; Ewan Kirk, founder and CIO of Cantab Partners; Elva Ainsworth, founder of Talent Innovations; and Andy Harter, founder and CEO of Realvnc – all of whom had inspiring stories and amusing anecdotes of how and why they set up their companies.
The four entrepreneurs visited the School as part of the Founders4Schools initiative. They covered a range of topics from the types of subjects they studied at school and university, to the work experiences they had before setting up on their own, and talked about the best things about being their own boss. The desire to ‘do things differently’ was a common theme running through their stories of why they decided to set up their own company, along with wanting to pursue something they truly enjoyed.
Year 11 pupils learned that although business was potentially a very profitable area to get into, it wasn’t an easy ride without its risks. When asked about the best thing about being his own boss, Ewan emphasised the great feeling of accomplishment in seeing a venture grow from nothing as a result of hard work and commitment – something that was stressed by all of the entrepreneurs.
Pupils learned about the benefits of being your own boss – with diversity and variety appearing at the top of the list. The panel agreed that in the world of business there are always new challenges to take on, new solutions to find, new avenues to follow, and no working week is the same – Ewan recounted how he returned from Abu Dhabi two days ago after visiting for only one day, and David could be in Cambridge one day, New York the next and London the day after!
Once pupils had heard the stories of the four entrepreneurs, the floor was opened to the pupils who asked lots of thought-provoking questions, including ‘what drives you to keep growing your business rather being happy with its current success?’ and at ‘what stage in your career did you have management experience?’. This event will hopefully give students the confidence to get their big idea off the ground in the future, having learned that it’s not necessary to have studied business to succeed as an entrepreneur; working hard and having belief in and passion for your idea lead to success in the long-run.