20:20 Vision: An entrepreneurial extravaganza designed to engage, inspire and connect students and young people.
A guest blog post from Pippa Reid
On the 30th of September, we held a conference at Abertay University geared toward anyone who might like to start their own business. Set in Pecha Kucha style, a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds (hence the conference name 20:20 Vision), the images advance automatically whilst the presenter talks alongside.
We invited eight speakers, all with varying different backgrounds and businesses, to come along and ignite a spark of enterprise within our audience. We were very grateful to FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) who supported and funded the event. The task of organising, building interest and recruiting attendees was appointed to Bridge2Business and Elevator.
We began by reaching out to high schools within Dundee and Angus. Primarily, to see if a conference like this would be enough justification to allow senior pupils out of school for the day, to be part of something exciting and of course, to help them start thinking about the mark they might want to make on the world.
With generous funding from FSB, we were able to provide transport for 100 pupils to the conference, it turned out that this was not enough, as the demand was so high! Some pupils made their own way, whilst another keen teacher hijacked the school mini-bus for the day. Amongst our attendees, we had; a business class from Dundee University, a number of college students and a host of other eager listeners, upping our audience to 250 throughout the day.
Our speakers for 20:20 Vision each had 6 minutes 40 seconds with which to fill however they saw fit. Hosting and guiding us through the day was the fantastically enigmatic Ally Bally from Tay AM. Ally is an entrepreneur himself and his comedic approach saw him advise our audience to ‘act now because it’s a nightmare if someone gets there before you!’
We started off with Geoff Leask representing Young Enterprise Scotland. Geoff managed to get everyone on their feet, as he visually represented the age brackets within the attendees. He discussed ‘traits of successful entrepreneurs’ and all the useful characteristics someone needs to build success; tenacity, passion, integrity and self-belief to name a few. He was also honest in his finishing speech, talking about a long road worth walking and to hold on to the belief, that you can do it!
JD Henshaw was speaker number two. JD manages Sweet Venues located in Dundee and within Edinburgh fringe. He works all year round to secure performers for an entire month festival. JD beautifully explained that everyone’s journey should begin with ‘falling down a rabbit hole’, as his entrepreneurial adventure had begun with directing Alice in Wonderland ten years ago. JD’s speech allowed listeners to look within and listen to what drives them and what excites them the most. Finishing with the rather wonderful reminder to, ‘never be afraid to create sparks’ in everything you do.
Up next we had the ladies from Ms Battenberg’s Travelling Tearoom, a double act in the form of Nicki Broughton and Zoe Venditozzi. The ladies began with the notion that everything should begin with cake! This quaint and vintage business provide pop-up tea rooms for any occasion, complete with retro tea cups and lace table cloths. Nicki and Zoe had many pearls of wisdom throughout the day but without a doubt the most memorable has to be, in defining success, ‘be happy and make sure nobody dies’!
To conclude our morning speakers we had the incredibly insightful Dylan Drummond from Son of the Sea Photography. Pressing home the idea of being inspired by your surroundings. Dylan opened his talk with explaining that ‘you will never lack opportunities if you just look around you’. As someone who has been very influential in the creative shaping of Dundee, he knows what he’s talking about. Closing beautifully with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi, ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’.
Our networking lunch was a chance for the young people we had along to engage with some of the fantastic support networks there are available for entrepreneurs; Elevator, Bridge2Business, Business Gateway, FSB and The Princes Trust were amongst the stalls available.
Kicking off our afternoon was John Fairfield from Flyboy Creative. As a filmmaker in Dundee, John spoke passionately about developing the arts in Scotland and taking advantage of our rich history and culture. Hitting home with a lesson all entrepreneurs must learn, which is to value your work, never be afraid to know your worth and be proud of it.
Nicola Donelly, from Time Boutique, took the stage next. As someone who climbed the career ladder and didn’t find complete happiness at the top, she knows all too well the nerve it takes to take a leap of faith and begin again. ‘Obstacles take you to places you never thought of going’ is one to remember when coming up against challenges.
Simon Greenway from Crafty Simon guided us through the next stage of 20:20 Vision. Simon noted the importance of realising gaps in the market and working them to your advantage. Simon left us with a powerful message when looking at fear; ‘FEAR can be looked at in two ways, either, forget everything and run or face everything and rise’.
To close our conference we had asked Bruce Walker from We Are the Future, 21 years old with already a powerful standing in the business world, Bruce began by exclaiming quite simply that he has ‘the best job in the world’. We Are the Future run events for entrepreneurs all over the world, but he was fast to point out that Scotland has fabulous resources for starting a business. His motto to surround yourself with amazing people is a good one to stick to!
All through the day there were special moments, brought about by the very talented and dynamic group of people who helped make the day what it was. For me, Elevator demonstrating the sensational powerhouse that they are hit home the most. Being surrounded by amazing people is an everyday occurrence if you work with them and what a wonderful thing that is.
If you would like to find out more about any of our speaker, please follow the links below:
Young Enterprise Scotland: http://www.yes.org.uk/
John Fairfield:Back to all blogs