University hosts event to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs

11 March 2016

Business leaders will take time out next week to take part in an event aimed at inspiring a future generation of entrepreneurs.

The Network of Entrepreneurs event, hosted by the University of Derby, will take place on Wednesday, March 16, 2016 at the Silk Mill, between 5-7pm.

Derby students who are considering starting up a business, or who have an entrepreneurial spirit, will be given the chance to gain support and mentoring. They'll also gain valuable networking and interpersonal skills, and knowledge of real world business set-up.

The event aims to give students the chance to meet leading local and national entrepreneurs at a historic venue, while entrepreneurs share their knowledge, experiences and insights, as well as offering support and mentoring to budding entrepreneurs.

Edward Hollands, BA (Hons) Business Studies graduate - who attended the event last year - said: “It’s critical to anybody to build your contacts. The Network of Entrepreneurs event enables you to meet not only Derby’s leading companies and entrepreneurs, but those who are up and coming.

“Get out there and have a conversation with someone you don’t know, that’s all networking is! They could unlock a job for you in the future, help you gain additional experience or encourage you to go at it alone, just like me."

Since attending the event, Edward has started his own business, The Advert Man, supplying advertising space on blank commercial trailers. He now manages more than 200 trailers across the UK, designing adverts and buying curtains for the side of the vehicles to help advertise different products and companies.

Graham Mulholland, Managing Director at epm: technology in Derby, was a guest speaker at the event last November and now mentors Edward.

Graham Mulholland and Edward Hollands

He said: “When I first started epm: technology in 1996, everyone seemed to be an ‘expert’ but never 100% told you the ‘facts’ or the ‘truth’. It took me five years to put this team of trusted people around me.

“I hope that by spending some time to nurture, mentor and coach the next generation of entrepreneurs they don’t waste this valuable time and energy. Hopefully by supporting students and graduates like Edward Hollands, we can accelerate their businesses and give them the confidence to take on the world and bring value back to Derby.”

Edward added: “Graham has fuelled growth within my business and enabled me to do things I wouldn't have dreamt of doing within a year of starting up. I have my sights set on becoming an industry leader and know how to get there.

“Graham and the University have been crucial in not only pushing me towards opportunities, but also in raising my profile. Everyone is always keen to hear how I’m getting on.”

Ian Roberts, Head of Derby Business School, said: “It’s a myth that potential entrepreneurs need a lot of money or a thunderbolt of inspiration. To pursue a dream of turning that spark of an idea into a commercial reality, potential entrepreneurs need to graft and need courage. But no one has ever set-up or grown a business without help.”

“The Network of Entrepreneurs event provides role models; people that students can observe, speak with and work with who have walked the path before them. People who want to ‘pay it forward’ so that one day that student entrepreneur they mentor will do the same.”

Flint Bishop Solicitors, a multi-award winning firm with 170 legal experts and professionals in the Midlands, sponsor the Network of Entrepreneurs.