For the fifth summer in a row, the University of Reading Henley Business School hosted the PopUp Business School. The school is supported and sponsored by Santander and the Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship and delivered the Summer Start-Up Boot Camp from June 26-30, 2017. The Boot Camp welcomed participants from student and local communities to learn how to start a new business with no money including building a website, finding customers and making sales.
According to Alan Donegan, Co-founder of the PopUp Business School, the Summer Start-Up Boot Camp is meant to turn the traditional approach to starting a business on its head. In a news release, he said, “No longer is it the case that you follow the traditional approach by writing a business plan, raising some money, hiring some people, building a product, finding a customer and sell … Let’s start with sales!”
Donegan also stressed that entrepreneurs don’t need everything in place to start. They can start with an idea, a website and a few sales. It’s for this reason that participants in the Boot Camp spent a full day talking about sales and customer development. The discussion, which included practical exercises, was lead by Jurek Sikorski the Executive Director at Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship and a former sales and marketing director at a FTSE 100 company.
Another topic discussed during the Boot Camp was social media and how to use it to grow businesses. Simon Pain, Co-Founder of the PopUp Business School, said, “Today you need social media if you are to build a successful business.”
Overall, fifty people attended the Boot Camp and, at the end of the experience, 26 percent claimed that they were actively trading by the last day of the workshop while another 52 percent says that they had plans to begin trading soon. Some of the positive responses from participants included:
- Harriet Robson, a Ph.D. student in environmental science: “The PopUp Business School has helped make my idea a reality, it has given me the confidence to start and taken away all the worries about financial burden.”
- Rahatara Gani, a BSc economics student: “The workshop had great content with excellent execution from all involved!”