November 14, 2022, by aczjb1
The Ingenuity Lab celebrates Global Entrepreneurship Week
As Global Entrepreneurship Week kicks off, Dr Terri Holloway, Head of The Ingenuity Lab writes about the international community of entrepreneurs at the Lab.
Global Entrepreneurship Week was developed in 2008 by the Global Entrepreneurship Network to encourage future founders to start businesses that aim to improve economic equality, social justice, and sustainability. Here at The Ingenuity Lab, we would like to highlight our truly international community as a reflection of what this special week symbolises, which could be described as responsible entrepreneurship without geographical limits!
As a former international student, I must first applaud our Start-up visa sponsorship scheme as a major contributor to our pool of innovative ventures, which have come from countries across the globe. At The Ingenuity Lab, we have a membership which consists of 50% British and 50% non-British international students, staff and alumni, which supplies us with an amazing variety of cultural perspectives and insights that together provide answers to the world’s most challenging problems. Ebenezer Owusu and Philemon Gyasi-Antwi were sponsored for the Start-up visa and then partnered to form GOAB Bio-Engineers, a social enterprise which transforms plastic waste into art and constructional materials. Their inspiring idea has led to several funding opportunities, including the Ingenuity Programme and Engineers in Business competition, which exists to drive social mobility and tackle major environmental challenges.
Pipeline Organics, Ingenuity Lab venture members and YES 2020 winners, are yet another social enterprise, which aims to develop a clean tech solution to the ongoing climate crisis. Founders Arielle Torres, Andrew Raslan, Eric Lehder, and Keyvan Jordeiri combined their skills in engineering, chemistry and biology as early-stage researchers to generate energy from waste. These social enterprises formed by student and graduate entrepreneurs are examples of the power of collaboration. Seeing our entrepreneurs working together, we have learned that a global community is an ideal atmosphere for invention!
In addition to expanding our international membership through our visa scheme, global entrepreneurship at The Ingenuity Lab was also enabled through the Covid-19 crisis, which brought us the silver lining of virtual memberships and the introduction of digital offerings. Where we once operated completely face-to-face, we now provide hybrid Roundtable events, extending our offer to international attendees, as well as online surgeries and networking, which has significantly expanded our community. We now also provide virtual Start-up visa pitching sessions, membership meetings, mentoring, and hybrid and face-to-face Lab takeover events led by our Ambassadors to showcase their fantastic products and services.
Concluding Black History Month, Peter Akanko, Start-up visa recipient, Nottingham University Business School alumnus and founder of Kente Master Limited, celebrated the official UK launch of his fashion social enterprise, which provides trade opportunities for weavers overseas. The event was a joyous, multicultural occasion, which embodied the spirit of global entrepreneurship, as attendees sampled exquisite traditional garments from Ghana displayed beautifully throughout The Ingenuity Lab. The collaboration and communication barriers which once existed have now come down through the provision of face-to-face, hybrid and online activities, and our start-ups are truly thriving as a result!
Scale goes global!
Testing our new virtual capacity, this year we trialled offering our accelerator programme, Scale, to an overseas cohort in collaboration with Dr Judy Muthuri’s Youth Entrepreneurship Project—a knowledge exchange programme between Kenyan and UK universities. Scale originally launched in June 2020 with a 100% online delivery by our HGI academics, Professors of Practice and Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIRs).
In 2022, Scale transformed into an intercontinental hybrid experience, which aimed to merge 12 UK businesses face-to-face and 54 Kenyan businesses online for a five-week course, with all the technical adventures that affords. We were certainly venturing into uncharted territory – however, to say that it was rewarding is an extreme understatement. Together the Kenyan entrepreneurs and UK Ingenuity Lab members learned key elements to advancing their businesses, while sharing the differences in entrepreneurship between the two locations, which was fascinating to hear. During Week 5’s Graduation session, an international judging panel – which included NUBS colleagues and EIRs – listened to fantastic pitches for a range of business ‘asks’ such as funding, marketing and HR support.
Not only have we extended our programmes across international shores, but we have also expanded our network of speakers. This year, our Roundtable series welcomed global speakers from our alumni community, such as Peter Presley, Founder of Hatcher, and this Wednesday, we look forward to welcoming Alumnus Michael Skok of Underscore VC for his highly anticipated talk Designing a customer-centric business model. During this virtual seminar, Michael will teach attendees how to identify their business’ core values and outline how to align their business model to their customers’ success, all while making a profit in return. Michael’s passion for innovation and entrepreneurship has taken him around the world, mentoring and developing the next generation of founders and leaders, modelling Global Entrepreneurship at its best!
Click here to join us online Wednesday for what will be a fantastic event.
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