Joining the team – my first steps into an exciting entrepreneurial ecosystem
Whenever I talk to friends about what we are doing at Future Worlds, I start by saying “I work at an incubator”.
They often reply, “What? For babies?”
Business incubators are generating excellent outcomes in the UK and it is never a long explanation before my friends exclaim – “Awesome, let me know if there’s something I should invest in!”
Conversations with friends and family rarely cover the day-to-day activities of my job because people always want to know about the mentors and entrepreneurs that make up Future Worlds. In some ways it’s rather fitting, as my job is to help spread the word about those very things.
My first day at Future Worlds already feels like a long time ago. I remember how strange it felt returning to a university environment as a member of staff. It doesn’t feel like that long ago that I squished all my earthly belongings into my car along with a freshly printed English degree, leaving my university days in my slightly obstructed rear view mirror.
Like most students, the relief and excitement of getting my degree and realising that the effort, work and compromised health and sanity were all worth it, is very quickly replaced by the doom and dread of what to do with it. In the metaphorical version of my career car journey, where I was heading was rather vague – all I did know is I was done with university and excited / terrified of not being restricted by what teachers, professors and parents had been setting for me until this point of my life – now it was up to me.
Physically, I was heading back to my parents’ house for some good food and a good sleep ahead of the ‘what are you going to do with your life?’ questions that were undoubtedly going to be the subject of choice at the breakfast table the following morning. Luckily for me, I had a job lined up to tell them about – a startup, and I was moving to London. To continue the journey metaphor, this was me ignoring the Sat Nav and taking the country road career path which – providing you don’t get stuck behind a tractor or there are some cows in the road – can be a faster route. For me, I wanted the more interesting drive!
For those of you that have read my Future Worlds Team profile, I will spare you the repetition of my career history to date. However, for those of you that haven’t, the main thing you need to know is that I have worked for two startups since graduating – both of which were trying to do something new and innovative within their industries. At its core, that is exactly what Future Worlds is doing too, so this seemed like an exciting new challenge, and here I am helping to make that happen.
I’ve always found it really interesting to learn how companies start, evolve and ultimately become a success. This is a part of my job that I love: learning about the mentors and entrepreneurs, helping create the videos, getting to know their products and stories, and figuring out the best ways to share these with our audience – whether that’s through blogs, posts on our social channels or events.
The Future Worlds events are a main part of my role, and since starting I have organised and hosted around three per month.
These have included our annual event in London at the Digital Catapult Centre, two unique events as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, as well as the popular mentor talk series. Future Worlds’ events were the one thing I had very little prior knowledge about until I was hosting the first one within a couple of weeks of starting. Luckily on the organisation front the rest of the team can set them up with their eyes closed and their hands tied behind their backs, which meant I was able to put all my effort into the promotion.
My first event was a lunchtime talk and Josh Valman was the headline mentor. He has a great story: a millionaire at the age of 16! I was excited just to be able to watch this talk and from a work perspective it is the kind of event that sells itself, and that it did! The talk came days after Freshers’ Week and was a great opportunity to engage with the new excitable students, so Alex and I shared the flyers at all the fairs possible – and within a couple of days the event was fully booked. This first event was a great indicator for how much people are interested in our network of mentors and the passion everyone has for learning the ingredients for success.
At the other end of the spectrum to the mentors are our entrepreneurs, and assisting my studio companion Alex with the filming of the Discover section videos is another part of my role. The first video I helped film was with entrepreneur Dylan Menzies and his Bowsynth musical synthesizer. As a music lover, there couldn’t have been a better shoot to start with.
We decided on the Turner Sims concert hall as our filming location and its beautiful black grand piano as a back drop. My father is in a band and records music via electronic drum kits and pianos which are able to replicate the real thing perfectly, so I was fascinated to hear the Bowsynth and a real violin playing side by side in the concert hall. Alex is great fun to film with and wants all the videos to be as creative as possible, so working together to find different shots, lighting and angles is a pleasure. You will have to stay tuned for Bowsynth’s video which will be coming soon to the Future Worlds site.
Over the past couple of months I have been finding out more about the network, our place within the University, and how we can expand and spread the word further about what we do. Now I have started to find my feet with the role and have a fresh series of events to organise for 2017 (with some new ideas being added to the mix), keep an eye on the Engage section and our social media channels (check out the icons at the bottom of the page) to be first in the know.
The diverse network of mentors and entrepreneurs grows every week. Never knowing what kind of product we will be filming and promoting next makes the role so interesting and varied. I cannot wait to see what the next couple of months have in store…