April 28, 2016, by The Ingenuity Lab

Ingenuity16 Mentor Profile: Jason Watkins

During Ingenuity16, a range of successful business men and women based in Nottingham and further afield have got stuck in mentoring the University of Nottingham’s budding entrepreneurs. Their guidance and advice has been incredibly useful for the students and alumni competing for the £100,000 prize fund.

Over the next few weeks, we will be uploading profiles of some of Ingenuity16’s mentors and coaches so you can find out a bit more about them and their top tips for success.

With only a few hours left before we find out which teams will be taking home the Ingenuity16 prize fund, we caught up with University of Nottingham Alumni,  Ingenuity16 mentor and judge Jason Watkins to share his tips on success…

Company name: 

Railston & Co Ltd

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What is your educational background?

I did an MBA at The University of Nottingham!

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Ingenuity Lab Ambassador Jason Watkins with Ingenuity16 finalist Mitchell Fasanya at the bootcamp earlier this year.

How did you originally get involved with The Ingenuity Lab?

I was asked by Professor Simon Mosey to become an Ingenuity Lab Ambassador for the University. Being a University of Nottingham Alumni, I was more than happy to get stuck in and help current students and fellow alumni with their businesses.

How did you find the Ingenuity16 Pitches?

The standard is so much higher than 2015! The Ingenuity16 bootcamp and pitches were so well organised and really enjoyable for everyone there.

What piece of advice would you give to anyone interested in setting up their own business?

Where do I begin?! Know your market and your consumer. Raise more than you think you need, as chances are you’ll probably need it! Things always take longer and cost more than we originally plan for, so raising more at the start means you don’t have to panic later on.

I’d also say it’s really important to think early on about who might be interested in buying your business down the line. Investors LOVE this. Partner with these companies if at all possible and dress your business up accordingly so that you appear attractive to those potential buyers.

Finally, enjoy the ride and if you fall off – it’s OK – just get back on and keep pedalling. The second time around it’s generally easier to hold on.

What do you think are the key challenges that new entrepreneurs will face when setting up a business?

It’s always tricky to find investors and even trickier during a recession when the appetite for risk is very low. Ideally, find an investor who can open doors and add value to your business beyond the cash they are investing.

What work are you currently involved in?

I’ve got a mix of things happening at the moment. As well as mentoring some of The University of Nottingham’s entrepreneurs, I’ve recently finished a film project and am involved in a couple of early stage start-ups. I also have a software and business innovation company.

If you started your business today what would you do differently?

I would definitely invest more time in finding the right people from day one. Over time, I’ve realised that it’s the sum of the parts rather than any one individual that makes the difference. The world is full of good ideas, but its good people and good teams that investors look for.

Plus, good people generally need less managing – giving you more time to spend on driving the business forward!

If you would like to find out more about Jason Watkins, please visit his website.

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Posted in Ingenuity16Mentors