April 14, 2014, by Kelly Cookson
Launching New Ventures at Nottingham University Business School
Guest blog by Liz Radice, Director at Backstage Balkans Ltd. Liz studied Serbian and Croatian Studies at The University of Nottingham and now runs her business out of the Business School’s EnterpriseLab.
Liz recently spoke to students taking the Launching New Ventures module as part of the MSc Entrepreneurship course at Nottingham University Business School.
When I was asked to talk at the MSc Entrepreneurship session, I did instantly say “Are you sure? What qualifies me?” It was my reaction based on my own perception of my qualifications and achievements. Based on qualifications, I am not qualified – I only hold an undergraduate degree, yet I am qualified by experience in pitching and presenting. Entrepreneurs, by definition, do not hold qualifications, they are experiential in their practise.
My first experience of entrepreneurship was recording mix tapes of cassettes in the mid-1990s for my classmates and then selling them on for a profit in the first year of high school aged 12. Funny thing is, I didn’t realise that was what I was doing at the time, I just wanted some new trainers that my parents weren’t willing to pay for!
So back to the talk, the session was entitled ‘How to pitch your business idea’ to enable the students to make a pitch in two weeks’ time as part of their assessment for the Launching New Ventures module on their course. I put together a short set of slides with my main points and spent a little time preparing some notes the day before the talk.
I’m quite happy to put in this preparation time because without the help, support and guidance of Nottingham University Business School, my business wouldn’t be where it is now. They have equipped me with mentors, money, advice and more and I don’t think me talking for half an hour to an MSc group repays that. Last year I also won a runner up prize in the Student Venture Challenge and have been granted some money this year to upgrade my technical equipment to enable me to run the business better when I am abroad. All this is invaluable to me as a lady with an idea and a load of determination but no experience running a small business alone.
The talk went well, or at least I think it did – I would love to know if the advice I gave resonated with the students listening, so I hope there will be a follow-up post to this one from the perspective of one of the students. A few of them came and asked pertinent questions afterwards so maybe, at least, something went well. Dr Hannah Noke running the session thanked me and followed that up with a good email and a small token from the Business School. The fact that I helped her in the session, is enough for me to know I’ve paid a small instalment of my debt to the Haydn Green Institute for getting me to where I am today.
Visit the Balkans Undiscovered website for more information about Liz’s business.