NEF Class of 2014 Bootcamp
Just got back from a 3 day residential event with my new classmates from The New Entrepreneurs Foundation. The residential was held as a “bootcamp” type event, designed to gather our 2014 class together properly for the first time, get us to meet and make friends, and do some workshops and exercises together. It was fantastic! I’ve met some awesome people and the whole experience and the activities have set me up brilliantly ahead of starting my work placement next Monday.
The first two days were spent as a residential, out at a youth hostel venue in Cheshunt, just outside of London. The venue worked great and we were all jumbled up and thrown into different “dorm” type rooms, I was in with 6 others from my class. Great way to get to know each other and have a laugh while sharing the experience!
The first day we had a number of workshop type activities and talks all together in one large room. The first of which was a bit of an introduction and thought provoker, delivered by one of our learning course providers, Chris Coleridge from UCL (think I have the name right). He seems a great guy, liked listening to him. Looking forward to seeing and working with him again over the coming year. We also did a great outdoor group activity based around building and firing a catapult. The aim of the game was to acquire all necessary parts for our catapult, assemble it, and then fire it in competition against the other teams, in the hope of winning a few beers by firing our bean bags and getting them to land in certain hoops laid out on a lawn.
That evening we did a short group exercise to come up with a new business or product idea aimed at “the young aspiring entrepreneur”, and each group made a short pitch and Q&A session to the rest of the group the next morning. This got me going and by the end of that day I seemed to have developed two new business ideas across a handful of pages in my sketch/notebook – top stuff!
The third and final day of the bootcamp was held at CCT Venues in Farringdon, back in London. First up was Adele Barlow of Escape the City and other ventures, who gave us a fun and energetic session on digital presence and social media. In her second session during the afternoon, Adele worked hard to inspire us all to either start up or re-double our own online presence through the use of blogs. No doubt a fair few of my classmates will now be looking to start up their own blogs following this prompt. I’m looking forward to reading their insights and takes on the coming year as it unfolds. Oh and by the way, I had always planned on starting this blog at the beginning of my NEF year, since as far back as June, it was just convenient coincidence that Adele’s kick up the arse was the tipping point that made me get on with it ASAP.
Best thing on the Friday, without a doubt; the two question and answer sessions we held. The first with a panel of 3 current and successful entrepreneurs (Alex Siljanovski of Blue Ronin, Andrew Ground of Tutor Fair and formerly LoveFilm, and Robert Welch of smallcarBIGCITY), the second with a panel of 6 of the NEF Class of 2013. Both discussions were fantastic, great fun, lots of laughs and some seriously interesting stories to soak up.
Made a rather interesting discovery amongst my NEF class late Friday afternoon too. One of my classmates has a business idea for a web based platform/product in a certain market place, which aligns very closely in concept and function to an on-going idea of my own, but which is in a different market/area. From early discussions it sounds like we have some common ground to help each other on and hopefully this, and the two ideas in question; will develop into something more to write about in the future.