Last Tuesday, Dr Siwan Mitchelmore organised a site visit for her third year students studying entrepreneurship at Bangor Business School to participate on an inspiringlearning visit to Bangor University’s Science Park.
M-SParc, the first dedicated science park in Wales, is home to 52 companies, most of which were established in north Wales; and is the perfect setting to inspire the students. They were greeted with refreshments at the Tanio café, where Emily Roberts, M-SParc’s Outreach and Community Manager, discussed what the purpose of a Science Park is, how M-SParc itself runs as a business, and it’s various projects and revenue streams.
Students learned about the links M-SParc and Bangor have in order to provide opportunities such as internships, work experience, access to business support for students thinking of starting their own businesses, and were encouraged to come to M-SParc to ‘hot-desk’ (spaces available at the M-SParc location in Bangor as well). Following a short Q&A, the students received talks from three special guests.
Josef, Anna, Emily, Dr Siwan, and Tom (L-R).
Josef Roberts, a Bangor School graduate, discussed his route from founding a company to working for Animated Technologies, based at M-SParc. Josef’s journey from being a student company in the B-Enterprising offices at M-SParc, to starting Pai Language Learning and seeking investment, to working for another company at M-SParc, demonstrated the often zig-zag path that entrepreneurs take to reach their goals. His talk let students know that not all business ideas will succeed on the first try, and how to overcome this and stay enterprising.
Tom Burke, founder of Haia, provided insight into his own journey to entrepreneurship, and how he now runs a business while also working for M-SParc. From moving to a new country to work for an animation company that didn’t exist by the time he got there, to a chance encounter around a pub pool table which led to his first opportunity, Tom gave a candid insight into how coincidences sometimes come into play when taking the step towards Entrepreneurship. His was a valuable lesson in keeping your eye on the market and your competitors, always ensuring you’re ahead of the curve.
Finally, Anna Roberts, founder of Explorage, provided valuable insight into how she left her career of 20 years to become her own boss. Explorage is a company that provides a one-stop-shop for finding self-storage in your area; something people often only need at some of the most stressful times in their lives. Anna demonstrated that the best business ideas don’t have to be groundbreaking, they only have to respond to a problem that no one has yet provided a solution to. Explorage now employs 6 local people.
The visit concluded with a tour, and a chance for the students to get some one-to-one time with all three founders, to ask questions and get advice from those who’ve been there before them. They left feeling inspired, and we hope that in a few years we’ll see them at M-SParc, establishing their own businesses and inspiring the next generation of Business Students. The visit was funded by the Bangor University Enterprise Development Fund.