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).

Francesco D'Alessio on 02 Oct 2014 Francesco D'Alessio's profile picture

Guest Keynote - Louise Pasterfield

On the 25th September we kicked off our first event after a very successful freshers fair with the support of cardboard cut-out Alan Sugar. The stage was set for us to start the year with a guest speaker who has accomplished so much with her business Sponge UK.

We started the event by talking about the society, what started the society and where are passions lie for the near future. President, Francesco D’Alessio, started off by showing this video about how the society started and what the goals for 2014/15 were as well as introductions from the committee.

A little information before about Louise:

Louise Pasterfield is the Managing Director and founder of Sponge UK, an international elearning company based in Plymouth.

Prior to setting up Sponge UK in 2004, Louise previously ran a design and marketing company, until the opportunities provided by elearning grew to the extent that it became the only line of business.

The company now works with organisations all around the world such as Toyota, Adidas, Tesco, GSK, the NHS, Sports Direct, HM Treasury and the United Nations. Following significant growth, it is now headquartered in a brand new building in Plymouth Science Park and also has an office in London. As well as developing elearning, representatives from Sponge UK attend events and deliver seminars in the elearning and technology industry. The company is also at the forefront of research and development, creating a world-first open-source, responsive elearning framework with others in the industry, and building its own Learning Management System.

Sponge UK has won awards for its elearning and was also WMN Small Business of the Year in 2011. The company is continuing to expand and is currently recruiting across all areas of the business working closely with Plymouth University for graduate recruitment and training opportunities. Originally from Pennsylvania, Louise has been based in the South West of England for over 25 years and has a foundation degree from the Falmouth School of Art, an undergraduate degree from Skidmore College, New York in Fine Art and a Masters Degree from the University of Exeter.

We left it to Louise Pasterfield for 45 minutes to talk about Sponge UK, her entrepreneurial experiences and what advice she has for starting up your own business.

We moved onto Q&A with some fantastic questions raised from Time managing yourself to the largest struggles encountered. It was an awesome event and opened the year on a positive and motive to push forward.

Member Feedback:

“It was a great opportunity to see an individual who has persisted with her business and how she never let any barriers become the end of her dream”

“The session was great! It helped me learn about how I can develop and expand a business idea as well as seeking advice from others”

Igniting Enterprise Members

Learn more about Sponge UK - www.spongeuk.com 
Francesco D'Alessio on 26 Sep 2014 Francesco D'Alessio's profile picture

Labour Party Conference

Labour Party Conference – by Marc Rowbury

On the 23rd of September, Usaj and I travelled up to Manchester by train to attend the Labour party conference which took place in the town hall of Albert Square. This ‘question time’ event held by Nacue was a chance for the 60 attendees, consisting of young entrepreneurs, students and educators, to ask labour officials, and company representatives about the future of student entrepreneurship.  The panel included Santander’s Head of Education Chris Sharkey, political entrepreneur Lord Mitchell, Labour MP William Bane, Andrew Freeman of the Finance Foundation and Nacue’s CEO Johnny Luk. The talk was led by the business correspondent for the financial times, Jonathan Moules.

Representing Igniting Enterprise, we decided to ask a question which could tell us more about the problems Entrepreneurial Students of Plymouth, Igniting Enterprise and Small to Medium Sized Businesses across the South West faced, and if there is plans for change or resolution and help for the future. 

We asked: With the strong and rapid growth of SME’s over recent years across Plymouth and the South West, what does Labour have planned to help stimulate and sustain this strong growth, and what do they have planned to help more students and young entrepreneurs get started not only in the South West but other remote places across Britain’

When speaking after the event on a personal level, we had a few responses;

Lord Mitchell said; ‘You need a suitable working environment and a strong Internet connection. You also have to be driven, because if you fail and don’t feel it in your soul to be able to get back up and try again, then this isn’t the right thing for you’

Chris Sharkey of Santander said; when dealing with business over my 30 years of experience, especially small ones, I have found that the best step for new ideas and new concepts which have little support, mentoring or funding, it is always good to go and speak to your local chamber of commerce if you have one. As well as a representative for the local area who should be able to provide you with a mentor. There are lots of ways to achieve funding right now for entrepreneurs and we are in a prime time of high interest in new and innovative business. For the midlands, I established a contact with a company called business links which helped new SME’s to get their feet off the ground and head in the right direction, what would be a good idea is to see if the South West has something similar to that.’

Manchester is a vibrant, cultural and historical town, with a lively business environment. It was fantastic to see not only the landmark town hall inside and out but also the surroundings and what Manchester has to offer, especially as close by the Labour conference was being held by Ed Miliband at the same time.

Johnny Luk the recently appointed new CEO of NACUE was very encouraging and excited not only for the future of entrepreneurship but also what future events NACUE has to offer Entrepreneur societies of the UK. He said to Usaj and me that it has been a very busy year for Nacue and one which has seen great growth, which he now wants to continue and to try and bridge the gap between the government and young entrepreneurs.  We both agreed he touched upon a fundamental point because funding is widely becoming available in the UK now however entrepreneur societies need to be more recognised in the work and opportunities they provide. If we can bridge the gap then this only makes it easier and more attractable for people to start their own ventures. A recurring theme to the conference was that the more support from the government there is, the more benefits it will have in return to the economy through job creation.

Overall this was a very good networking experience and a perfect opportunity to hear first-hand, the efforts made by Nacue and what Labour plans to offer back to the future people of business as well as the future support intended for societies. It is one of Nacue’s smaller events but definitely one to re-visit next year to see the progression made. 

Francesco D'Alessio on 24 Sep 2014 Francesco D'Alessio's profile picture

Welcome to Igniting Enterprise 2014/15

Hello new member of Igniting Enterprise, 

Congratulations on joining! Welcome to Plymouth University's Entrepreneur Society, started in 2011, we have been starting, supporting and nurturing student businesses and pushing as many opportunities in our member's direction to help support their growth in their professional and personal lives. 

So what have you signed up for? 

Over the year we have the following planned,

  • Events from Top Speakers,
  • Workshops to improve your skills, 
  • Student Support for your ideas, 
  • Opportunities with startup businesses, 
  • External Events

These will all be available through the Facebook Group, which you can join now (https://www.facebook.com/groups/plymouthentrepreneurs/

As well as our Website (www.withaspark.co.uk) - We post all our opportunities through these channels to kick you all off on your journeys. 

Thank you for joining, 

Francesco D'Alessio, President of Igniting Enterprise

"I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which, was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love."

Jim Carrey

Francesco D'Alessio on 08 Sep 2014 Francesco D'Alessio's profile picture

YouTube - Let's help others!

Our YouTube Channel 

Help us grow our Channel with Playlists. 

We want you to recommend the following to help inspire, develop and grow our entrepreneurs in our society and many more, 

Suggest a video through Twitter and Facebook: 

- Motivational videos

- Advise from entrepreneurs

- Speakers

- Enterprising value videos

- Products that inspire you 

- Great marketing videos

- and much more!



Igniting Enterprise has been named 'Enterprise Society of the Year' by government-funded young entrepreneurship charity Nacue.

There are currently 110 active university enterprise societies throughout the UK, so this is a massive achievement! 

Congratulations to everyone who has made a contribution to the society not only this year, but since launching in 2011. This award belongs to all of us!

Press Release

- Admin - on 04 Feb 2014 - Admin -'s profile picture

Coding Workshop

Wednesday 5th February 2014 - 18:00 to 19:30 - Babbage 405

No previous coding experience required!

If you are interested in learning how to start coding then come along to this workshop! All that is required is a laptop that has at least a 2 hour battery life, WiFi capabilities and basic computer skills. Hope to see you there:)

CrowdFunder NACUE Member SWFish Plymouth University: Enterprise
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