Last week, Robert Gordon University organised a 3-day series of events surrounding entrepreneurship. The first evening kicked off with a panel of inspiring talks from local business owners and entrepreneurs, called Inspiring Entrepreneurship. In collaboration between RGU Careers Services and Surge Aberdeen, the event consisted of five speakers in a variety of entrepreneurial endeavours and at different stages of their journey. Their stories were filled with inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs (like myself) and I’m excited to share some of their insights with you.
James McIlroy from Eurobiotix
During his final project studying Medical Science, James came across an intriguing article on gut bacteria. From this he formed his multi-award winning start-up Eurobiotix.
“If you have an idea, give it a go”
James shared his thoughts on the unique opportunity of being at university and entering entrepreneurship. It’s a great time to start while you have little to lose and don’t have the financial pressures that typically come with age (family, mortgage, etc.).
Yekemi Otaru from YO! Marketing
Before starting her award-winning strategic marketing company, YO! Marketing, Yekemi had an established career in engineering. Like many of us in the MSc Digital Marketing programme at RGU, she changed careers and found a unique way to combine her past experience and new career into a niche business.
“Marketing is just a tool to get you somewhere.”
Mechelle Clark from Melt Aberdeen
Having spent over ten years working in recruitment, Mechelle launched Aberdeen’s first grilled cheese shop, Melt. She shared her inspiring story of turning job loss into an opportunity to build a business. A passion for food fuelled her and despite some ups and downs at the start, she was profitable right away.
“Follow your passion & hold on to your nerve.”
Hamish Blythe from Twigd
Being brought up in an entrepreneurial family, Hamish has always wanted to start his own enterprise. Still in the final year of his degree, he is lunching Twigd – an alternative mobile network site promising freedom from traditional bills.
“If you have an idea do it now. Don’t wait.”
He emphasised the importance of change. Change is something you have to prepare for. In order to succeed, you must be able to adapt and innovate your initial business idea.
Duncan Skinner from Social Stuff
Duncan is well known within the Aberdeen oil industry for developing PSN before selling to Wood Group. He is currently retired from Oil and Gas but that didn’t stop him from shifting gears and starting up the social enterprises Glencraft and Social stuff.
“Seize the day!”
He shared with us his 7 Cs of entrepreneurship: Commitment, Cash, Customer, Competition, Commercialise, Clear plan, and Core values. Duncan further explained his core values, which he believes led to success in his business: Collaborate, Communicate, Colleagues, Care, Community, Continually improve and Coaching (as in, work with a coach).
Inspiring Entrepreneurship Q&A
Lastly, the evening ended with a Q&A session. The question that stood out to me was: “Why is Aberdeen a good place to start a business?” Each speaker had their own reasons for launching their businesses here but all pointed to the excellent support of the Scottish government, the innovative spirit and the resources available to entrepreneurs through Elevator UK and Business Gateway.
Another question from the audience was: “How do you overcome fear and doubt?” The responses were varied. Surround yourself with good people. Follow the core values to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. And just be scared and go for it anyway!
Furthermore, all the speakers agreed that moving and travelling abroad can open your horizons and spark that entrepreneur in you. So, if you’re not in Scotland at the moment and considering studying abroad, this is all the more reason to come and study at RGU.
As Digital Marketing students, we look forward to more events like this on-campus. In addition to coursework, we have the chance to take advantage of all the opportunities around us. So, there is no excuse not to further enrich our studies and start expanding our horizons while completing the Masters of Digital Marketing.
Special thanks to Chris Burnett, founder of Surge Aberdeen and an RGU alumni for organising the event and providing the photos. Photos taken by Michal Wachucik from Abermedia.