Bence Szikora is helping enterprising students in Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) become tomorrow’s successful technology entrepreneurs. As President of the ECS Entrepreneurs Society, he co-organises regular talks and competitions which are stoking an enterprise culture in the student body. Bence is also pursuing his own entrepreneurial projects on top of a busy course in Electronic Engineering.
He was born and raised in Budapest, Hungary, where he learned computer programming skills from the age of 10. He has chosen to follow in his father’s footsteps by training as an engineer and has been building technical experience as a Freelance Developer since high school. Bence has already completed more than 80 projects with over 20 employers in eight countries, with tasks including the development of web and mobile applications, managing content management systems and configuring supporting servers.
Bence says he was drawn to Southampton by “the best Electronic Engineering course in the UK” and has enjoyed settling in to his new surroundings since 2014. “Southampton is a very different but interesting place to be,” he says. “There is a more practical education here than in Hungary, which is both great and challenging. The biggest advantages of being here is the student community and the excellent facilities – the new ECS labs enable you to do so much.”
The burgeoning student society scene has much to offer on campus, and Bence has dived into several activities in his time in the city. As well as playing in the University’s water polo team, he is President of the Hungarian and Cyber Security societies.
“My enthusiasm in cyber security comes from my interest in software,” he says. “If you’re going to write something then you need to learn how to make it secure. We hold workshops every two weeks, offering challenges and problems with different levels of difficulty. Everyone can participate. It’s exciting to be on the other side of the fence and find out how to hack into things – it gives you a different perspective.”
Bence believes there’s a natural relationship between computer science and entrepreneurship, and has been exploring the notion with over 300 like-minded students since 2015 in the ECS Entrepreneurs society. The group hosts inspirational workshops, talks and competitions for its members throughout the year. “The society helps student from the stage where they have no idea at all, to one where they have actual finished products,” Bence says. “Anyone with an interest in entrepreneurship is welcome to join.”
ECS Entrepreneurs started a new incubator programme this year which they will use to nurture early stage startups. The programme motivates students to develop ideas towards viable products, tapping into expertise from the Future Worlds network.
Bence was elected President of the ECS Entrepreneurs society this year and wants to connect students with the support they need to shape their ideas. “I look forward to hearing from students with products they want to work on,” he says. “I can help them become part of an entrepreneurial community and be connected to mentors who can help them along the way.” You can get in touch with Bence using the contact form on this page.
The centrepiece of the ECS Entrepreneurs calendar is an annual Dragons’ Den event, where student entrepreneurs pitch business proposals to Future Worlds Mentors for real investment. Bence entered this year’s competition alongside Physics and Astronomy student Charnley Worth, with a proposition for a new market leader in Southampton’s online student letting scene.
The pair received excellent feedback from the judges and were offered £40,000 to get their business off the ground. “Future Worlds has been a great support,” Bence reflects. “I’ve been able to meet some great people and receive really useful feedback.”
Bence’s experiences have delivered unexpected life lessons that he would pass on to any other enthusiastic student entrepreneurs. “This year has pushed me to the edge,” he says. “It has taught me how careful you need to be and learn when to say ‘no’. You need to delegate and it takes experience to learn how to schedule your time.”