Dean Jackson is MD of HUUB – designers of the number one performing British wetsuit.
In the past I looked at the University of Derby as a big scary place of learning – now I view it as a key partner.
My specialist business, making and selling triathlon wetsuits and apparel, has gone worldwide since I founded it five years ago. But I will never leave Derby and am delighted to work with the students from the University.
I studied for a night-school marketing qualification at the University so when I was asked to speak to potential young entrepreneurs I was very flattered.
Sharing my experience and knowledge
Now I have gone on to mentor some students, giving them some real world experience. In turn, they have taken the advice and run with it. The University reaches out to the community and tries to get under the skin of local companies.
If we need anything, I know we can pick up the phone and its staff will make it happen. For example, a team of students were sent to help us with the organisation of the recent Jenson Button triathlon in Derby.
I have also benefited from some of the expertise in the department – the staff are happy to spend their time being a sounding board for ideas. Meanwhile, I love giving something back.
The Network of Entrepreneurs is really enjoyable and I have come across some brilliant students at these events. In fact, I become so immersed I haven’t wanted to go home!
I have also been humbled to share the stage with other top-notch business people who want to help and share their stories. These allow students to realise that most successful people have had failures and that they can bounce back from theirs.
I always say to the students that they have a wonderful opportunity to follow their dreams and can even set up their own companies now. Many already have – and those of us who have had a bit of success love to see others follow in our footsteps.
I am hoping for more in the future and new intakes can be assured that we, in Derby, will do everything we can to support them.