Welcome to Plymouth University’s Entrepreneurs Society!

We offer business support & mentoring for people who are interested in starting a business, offering support from finance to meeting rooms. Become inspired by experienced global and local entrepreneurs from our free lectures and guest speakers.

Get involved with real life business start-ups and develop your skills as an entrepreneur by joining our commercial projects. Perfect for CV building, meeting people and making some money for yourself! Get funded to join us at local, national, and global events! We’ve recently sent 20 society members to visit the UK’s leading student enterprise conference (travel, tickets and Hilton Hotel rooms included).

Gareth Matos on 07 Mar 2016 Gareth Matos's profile picture

February Update

From National Enterprise Conferences to Guest speakers, we have bee up to all....

NACUE Conference 

NACUEs Student Enterprise Conference (SEC) in London on 20th- 21st February, has most certainly been jam packed with action and skill set workshops. Having a selected group of members for a weekend full of keynote speakers, exciting talks from start-ups as well as the chance to network with likeminded students from around the country. Keynote speakers included Peter Briffett from YPlan and  Isaac Howie Brewerton from Pixel Blimp. 

Edmond Davari's Restaurant Empire

We were lucky enough to have a talk from Edmond Davari at the start of February in conjunction with Institute of Hospitality Society with Plymouth University. This was a very successful talk. Edmond got into the very best and juicy stories of how he build his restaurant empire as well as a theatre manager prior to the restaurants. He also gave insight into how his businesses struggled to survive the economic crash in 2008 as well as showing us his new mobile food business. We quickly understood that Edmonds forte was marketing and taught us that if we want to do something, just go for it and don't be scared. 

Bob D’Silva Novel Marketing Techniques 

Bobs Experience in industry as a Chartered Engineer, Project Leader, Commercial Director, and Mentor was very obvious in the talk he kindly delivered a Novel Marketing Techniques workshop on the 3rd of March 2016. Taught us how telemarketing is not dead and how efficient and informational it can be when you want to win you next million pound contract.

He is scheduled to give two more talks in due course, 17th of March and 15th of April (for full detail look at our event list here or Facebook page).

New Committee

Igniting Enterprise held their AGM on the 26th February. In this, the new committee was successfully voted in for next year who are gradually taking over from the current committee. Sophie White was voted in as President whilst Feyi Ogunyeye was voted in as vice-president. They have many ideas for improving the society next year and we look forward to seeing their plans unfold.

Upcoming events and workshops:

Keep Your Profits

In the pipes, we have ‘Keep Your Profits’ workshop in which members will be able to learn how to make a business plan (hosted by a professional), and then for juicy part two, they will be competing face to face in campus around University. Participants keep their profits.

email in or catch us on social media for more detail 

Leaders’ Summit

We will also be taking the two new committee members to London for NACUEs Leaders’ Summit that have added the most value to the society over the year. This is an annual event bringing together the leaders of enterprise societies from across the UK. It allows our new committee to be given a series of workshops, whilst also allowing them to relax for an evening in an award ceremony over drinks and food.

Bob D’ Silvia

We also have the two other lectures in Bobs series of talks coming in the next few months. Contact us to book 

Gareth Matos on 03 Nov 2015 Gareth Matos's profile picture

October Update

Month of October

Igniting Enterprise had a great start to the year. Our first event was an introductory event about what we had to offer with a little pizza break in the middle. This event gave an overview of the society, what entrepreneurs are all about and allowed the society to understand and taylor the events to you.

Throughout the month we had two talks presented by Bob D' Silva, a now retired no-executive CEO, expert in Marketing and Sales. Do not fear, he will be back to do some more of these invaluable talks in the second semester.

This week just gone we were in the SU taking part in our annual Halloween sale. The objective of this was for members to experience face to face selling and allowed skills to be gained.

We have had a constructive amount of interest from student members who are in the process of setting up their own business and seek support.

As a society we can help your taking those first steps in becoming a true entrepreneur, All you need to do is come along to our events, seek help and join us here: http://www.upsu.com/societies/IgnitingEnterprise/

If you want to grow your own business and think you need some help, reply to this email and we can guide you in the right direction. 

November (Upcoming Events)

In terms of our upcoming events this month,  we have incorporated a "Pitch a Pint social" on the first Friday of every month. So set the date in your calendar now - This Friday the 6th at 6pm.
The social will be a great way to meet up with fellow members and share your ideas. Who knows, you might even finder business partner here.

Designer Talk
On the 16th of November there will also be a talk by Jackariaeh Timothy Francis O'hanlon, who set up a designer company from scratch. This will be a great talk and should not be missed. More news on this later.

Crowdfunding Your Idea
If you are at a stage with you business where you are now looking to fund your ideas and turn them in to reality, there are Crowdfunder workshops every month. Just get in touch with us to find out more.

Committee Positions
Do you want to enhance your CV and get more active within the community. Igniting enterprise has a couple of committee positions to fill in Marketing and Finances. Just get in touch and we will take it from there.

Keep an eye open to the future events. They are great value from people who have been there and done it. 

Francesco D'Alessio on 13 Jan 2015 Francesco D'Alessio's profile picture

End of Year Review: What 2014 looked like

Hit us up on Twitter: @PlymouthES

And FB - FB.com/ignitingenterprise 

Thank you!

Francesco D'Alessio on 22 Nov 2014 Francesco D'Alessio's profile picture

Society Update (Pre-Christmas)


We've had some great times this year already from Pinterest to Popcorn speakers!


Oleg Fomenko, founder of Bloom FM -  the music app - https://www.facebook.com/events/856087144413598/ 

NACUE NSEC Trip - January 2015

Every year, we attend the UK's Largest and Best Student Enterprise Conference! Bringing huge value to our students by inspiring, developing, growing, driving and pushing their entrepreneurial and enterprising mindset. We're looking for applications for 10-15 places for the NACUE NSEC Trip on 30th, 31st and 1st Jan/Feb in Liverpool. 


Applications need to be sent to cesidalessio@gmail.com with the subject "NSEC 15 - Application - Your Name" 

Need to include 200 words about why you'd like to go on the trip also 100 words on how you think the trip will help you become a more enterprising person. 

Please include full name, course and year, student ID number, telephone number and email address. 

Please send these in by December 10th 2015 - at 5PM

You need to be available on 30th January, 31st January and 1st February all day for travel and the event - a deposit of £20.00 will be taken despite travel/accommodation costs for the event - this will be reimbursed when getting back.

Announcements for places will be based off your application as well as engagement in society events to date and announced before Christmas

Francesco D'Alessio on 10 Oct 2014 Francesco D'Alessio's profile picture

Guest Keynote - Phil Geraghty


We were lucky enough to have Phil Geraghty from Crowdfunder UK come and talk to the society about his personal experiences and how Crowdfunder works as a UK business.

It was great talk with strong attendance, he started with a history on his experience of startups, being a businessman and running a UK business that grew into TouchLocal.com,

Moving swiftly on he talked about his work with Crowdfunder UK and how he raised funding for the team to develop Crowdfunder and grow it into a fully functioning service that is progressing across the UK.

We then opened to Q&A with some fantastic questions raised by the members of Igniting Enterprise,

Thanks for coming along,

Francesco D'Alessio on 05 Oct 2014 Francesco D'Alessio's profile picture

Conservative Party Conference

The first question "What business & enterprise skills are needed to succeed in the real world?" opened a discussion that covered numerous subtopics.

Sherry Coutu & Nick Boles began the proceedings by pointing out that many young entrepreneurs who may be skilled in various disciplines within a business, must be careful not to fall victim of an ideology that one can create & sustain a business without help & expertise.

Nick Boles - "If you can recognise the areas in which you are not the best, then you can identify & recruit the best"

Sherry Coutu stressed the importance of self-awareness & a comfort in ones abilities, reiterating Nick's point & highlighting the fact that as a student-entrepreneur there is still lot to learn about the business environment, however this should not discourage or be considered a disadvantage.

The conversation then shifted smoothly onto the topic of failure, to which Sherry expressed her concern about the public definition of, & prudence surrounding, failure. She went on to describe "failure" as a important, all be it painful, learning experience in any entrepreneurs career, explaining the lessons that one learns from failure will last much longer than any gained from success.

Sherry Coutu - "I've learnt a lot more from my so called failures than I have from my successes"

Following on from this point Stephen Dury commented on the need to re-define success in the public opinion, stating that Santander look primarily at the core competencies of the individuals behind a business proposal before any previous failures are considered.He again touched upon the concept that any experience, weather it is positive or negative, is worth more to an individual & to the business environment, than no experience at all.

Representing our society & university Francesco then followed with the question "How would you like to see young people rewarded for engaging on Entrepreneurial activity whilst taking risks at university & college?"

Johnny Luk responded by explaining the conflict between academic achievement & the involvement in extra-curricula activity which many students are faced with. A point swiftly followed by Nick Boles who spoke of the need to formally acknowledge extra-curricular activity, mentioning the importance of academic achievement as a basis for progression within a recruitment process, but placing extra-curricular involvement in a definitive position during the penultimate & final stages of selection.

Nick & Sherry discussed the various social network platforms that provide an area to display ones extracurricular activities, & also began to converse with Andrew Clarke about the distraction that these various profiles, or rather the maintenance of such profiles can create for students.

For the full response to our question please visit our Youtube Channel

The next question, "Thinking about the coming decade, what one piece of advice would you give to 21 year olds today?", promoted answers from Nadhim Zahawi MP & Nick Boles MP. Responding first Nadhim drew attention to a need for creative & imaginative students to begin voicing & actualising their ideas, not just through start-up projects at university, he emphasised the importance of retaining that creative spark if & when occupying a graduate position.

Nadhim Zahawi - "Graduates are one of the most valuable assets a firm can have, they are a key source of unbiased & radical ideology that can help change & shape our business environment for the better"

On Monday 29th September Francesco & I attended the "Student Entrepreneurs Question Time" event held by NACUE & Santander in The Library of Birmingham. This exhilarating experience helped answer the various questions that a majority of student entrepreneurs will be asking & will continue to ask themselves throughout their academic studies. 

The expert panel of Sherry Coutu (Director - Zoopla Property Group, The London Stock Exchange Group, Raspberry Pi & Artfinder Advisory Board Member - Linkedin & Care.com), Nick Boles (Minister of State for Education & Skills), Stephen Dury (Managing Director, SME Markets & Business Development, Santander), & Nadhim Zahawi (Foreign Affairs Select Committee member, Co-Founder YouGov & Co-Author "Masters of Nothing: The crash & how it will happen again unless we understand human nature"), chaired by Andrew Clarke (Deputy Business Editor, The Times), shared personal advice & experiences along with professional expectations & viewpoints on the topic of student entrepreneurship. The event consisted four questions from a diverse audience of students, young entrepreneurs & educators.

Nick Boles touched back on the previous topic of academic/extra-curricula balance, adding that students & young entrepreneurs should be careful not to sacrifice an opportunity to develop competencies in pursuit of their ideas. He philosophised that many students may feel an intense pressure to build a business during their chosen programme, in order to protect themselves against the possibility of graduate unemployment. Instead of frantically rushing to launch a project, he posed the idea of using a start-up project as a means to gain key skills that will enhance appeal to employers & will also allow the idea enough time & space to grow into its full potential.

The events closing question "The government has had significant impact on the enterprise sector in recent years, for example through the development of 'university enterprise zones'. how can our government continue to address the needs of student entrepreneurs?"

Allowed Johnny Luk to respond by reiterating the vital role that our government has played in the recent surge of entrepreneurial activity. He then put it to the audience, who had shown commitment & desire simply by their attendance, that maybe the question to be asking is not what our government can do to address student-entrepreneur needs, but how can we as student-entrepreneurs utilise the numerous avenues that are already in place. Many students, he added, are unaware just how much support & guidance is available to them. This may be a result of government under publication, however given the wide array of tasks entrusted to our government, it seems more understandable that we should be looking to raise awareness of the entrepreneurial activity within a students local & national reach.

Stephen Dury pointed out just one of the many opportunities currently on offer to young entrepreneurs. He explained the workings of NEF "The New Entrepreneurs Foundation" an organisation set-up to "transform UK business by developing entrepreneurial leaders of the future."

Nick Boles then gave indication that while Johnny & Stephen's points were valid, we can rest assured the government will continue to address our needs, & are taking events such as this as a chance to better understand what needs may not have been addressed, with the intention to begin formulating new methods & programmes that will do so.

When the event had drawn to a close the opportunity to speak on a one-to-one basis with panel members presented itself, Francesco began engaging with Stephen Dury about our society & entrepreneurship in the southwest, to which he was encouraged that although our location may be remote, the passion our region has for entrepreneurship is beginning to define the southwest as a major Entrepreneurial zone in the UK.

Stephen then added that he himself was a Plymouth University Business School graduate. This point may not necessarily be linked to entrepreneurship, but seeing a former Plymouth University student in such a prestigious position is something that should be shared & will undoubtedly serve as motivation for those aiming at a professional careers upon graduating.

This event gave a real insight into the mind set & requirements of not only career entrepreneurs but also career professionals. The city was overwhelmed with energy due to the Conservative Party conference, hosted directly next to the library, & all the fringe events that were held coherently. It's impossible to capture every piece of advice that was shared during the event, however I would like to emphasise a key point made by the panel regarding the topic of start-up funding.

When asked advice on the best source of funding for start-ups, the response was very clear & precise namely; "Display & monetise consumer demand"

Crowd funding was a simple method highlighted by which both objectives could be achieved. This point I believe to be particularly relevant for our current generation in which anyone & everyone have the tools available to set an idea in motion & present to investors. Sourcing funding from consumers shows the validity of an idea, demonstrates the ability to operate & communicate according to consumer demand & most importantly clearly displays a revenue stream, all of which place a start-up in an advantageous position when pitching to investors.

In closing I'd just like to thank the Society & University for facilitating this experience.

Post by Brolin Stevenson-Twotoo 


New Entrepreneurs Foundation

NACUE Event Report

CrowdFunder NACUE Member SWFish Plymouth University: Enterprise
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