Business Studies trip: Entrepreneur Day
On 15th October, Business students took part in EntrepreneurLIVE! 2013 at the Vue Cinema in Fulham Broadway. It is a hugely popular enrichment event for all AS and GCSE Business students that allows them to meet and interact with a team of inspiring, successful entrepreneurs. In total, there were five entrepreneurs giving talks. The first speaker – and the one who made the strongest personal impression on me – was Louis Barnett, the entrepreneur of Chokolit.
Louis became the youngest-ever supplier to Waitrose at the age of 13, Sainsbury’s at 14 and Selfridges at 15. Louis’s passion for chocolate started with cakes, when he was asked to make a chocolate cake for his auntie’s 50th Birthday. Following the success of this cake came many requests from friends, family and then local delicatessens and restaurants to supply his cakes.
Nowadays, Louis Barnett Chokolit bars are exported globally and the volumes are growing year on year. Through the speech he made, I understand that being young can be a strength, not a weakness. All that is needed is an open mind and determination. As he said, “If they can why can’t I? If I can, why can’t you?” We also heard presentations from Mick Jackson, of Wild Hearts (a charity dedicated to helping the poor in developing countries, using the profits from providing office supplies and by offering microloans for business projects), from Kate Castle of GeartoGo (well known for marketing a portable camping loo that succeeded in getting support on TV’s Dragons’ Den) and Jacob Hill of Lazy Camper (all-in-one camping kits).
But the other speech I found really inspiring was made by Miranda Ballard, the entrepreneur of Muddy Boots (making high-quality burgers to sell in supermarkets). She told us that being an entrepreneur is not as easy as people think. To be successful, resilience is a necessary characteristic. “Never play, never win”, she reminded us and that struck a chord with me. She persuaded us we should try to hang on to the attitudes of openness we had in our childhoods. We need to be prepared to try everything and still keep taking risks, because that is what an entrepreneur should do. The speech she made grabbed everyone’s attention and inspired me a lot. In business, we not only need to see that gap in the market, we also need the determination and persistence to follow through on our decisions. It was one of the highlights of a memorable, enlightening and inspiring day.