A warm and sunny welcome (with rather less of the usual biting winds on the high Sussex clifftop) awaited us entrepreneurs yesterday afternoon for the 4th of the Guild’s now familiar lecture and networking events in the past 3 and a half years at one of our partner schools Roedean on the Brighton coast.
The business studies senior pupils were this time joined in Keswick Hall by pupils from several other neighbouring schools and colleges, to hear some more fascinating entrepreneurial adventures and “nuggets of wisdom” from the Guild team.
David Mellor- author, mentor and business guru, shared his top ten “tweet sized” tips for starting up in business, including having support such as a mentor to help you on the journey and the importance of securing the right team around you and not cutting corners as a short term measure. Going into the business with your eyes wide open and make sure you understand the business and profit drivers before you start, and keep learning all you can, were all useful and relevant tips!
Alexandra Rock – who with Spirit de la Mare was one of the Old Rodeanian speakers- told the fascinating story of creating her business of fabulous high quality pretty patterned hairbrushes when losing her own;
Mandy Haberman told us her story of inventing a revolutionary nursery non-spill beaker as an inexperienced young mum at her kitchen table, and later taking on the industry giants in High Court “David and Goliath” type litigation to successfully enforce her legal rights.
Spirit de la Mare told of her formidable drive and determination to make enough money from cleaning cars as a young girl to pay the train fare to be able to sit the Roedean scholarship exam- now a successful poet, playwright and editor of an arts magazine, she reminded the audience that support, kindness and constructive critique were keys to success.
And Colin Hegner entertained us with his life story as an art student, window dresser, classic car insurance salesman, and will writing business owner, concluding with a wonderful short video emphasising the power of team work, before the audience was able to ask the entrepreneurs some questions over tea and biscuits and we all went our separate ways.
Although the journeys and businesses were all quite different there were some real common threads running through the stories and the importance of helping others along the path and ensuring a strong team around you, were key messages that came through very strongly and gave us all real food for thought.
Our thanks to Roedean’s Head of Enterprise Steve Low for arranging and for hosting us so generously; to David, Alexandra, Mandy, Spirit and Colin for volunteering to come and share their stories and to Education Committee Chair Nicola Manning for leading on the project.
All photos (c) Colin Hegner