Enterprisers Programme by William Farr

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Blog about the Enterprisers Programme by William Farr (Doctoral Student in Psychology, 2010)

Only one phrase sums up my experience of the enterprisers scheme: ‘a blur’. The enterprisers scheme aims to take individuals from all postgraduate disciplines and firms such as American Express and give us the opportunity – in time, space, and support – to play-out potential entrepreneurial ideas within a very intensive setting. The programme is set over a week and is fast paced, hard work, with no time to take it easy. From before nine in the morning until nine at night we worked, developing ideas and working on attitudes, stances and pitches that are all important for the creation of an entrepreneurial atmosphere. Even when we had finished the days work we stayed up late talking or chatting about ideas. One evening we even had the opportunity to network with business entrepreneurs but were closely chaperoned in case we hogged one of them! For my part I spoke to someone with business links in China, and in technology, both of which matched acorns of thought that I have tried to grow previously but only began to come to fruition during this week.

The week was lead by business school lecturers from Cambridge University and MIT who were full of character, brutal honesty, and good intention. I felt well placed to ‘cut to the chase’ and discuss everything clearly, and without waffle. I did I will admit feel over my head with the vast majority of people there from Cambridge University. I still feel like this to a degree as the Cambridge University brand was spoken of in terms of its important and powerful pull, something I wish I had access to. However, I learnt that the energy and enthusiasm others and I brought to the programme far outweighed any other institutional disadvantages we may have.

The friends I made in such a tightly organized week felt similar to going through an exam period. By definition of the week being intense it meant that the bonds that we had to create quickly became deep and hard working. I know I have a couple of friends who I will be in touch with again, and one that will possibly form a Chinese consultancy project. By the end of the week a number of potential ideas had evolved which may well form the core of future business initiatives. I won’t ruin it by explaining what exactly took place. Just know this: would I do it again? Absolutely.

Applications are now open for this year’s highly-renowned Cambridge/MIT Enterprisers 4 day residential programme, taking place at the end of May.

Due to Sussex’s longstanding involvement with the course, the University of Sussex has secured 20 places for Sussex Doctoral students and all disciplines are eligible to apply, whether or not your studies are funded by a research council.

***Places are worth £1000 each, but will be fully sponsored if you are successful in obtaining a place***

Deadline for applications is 18 April.

What can you gain from this course?

  • learn new and innovative ways to think about your research
  • learn how to raise awareness of the impact of your research within communities.

The skills gained on Enterprisers are equally applicable to developing a new venture, a student society, a community project and indeed research projects going forward. It is also a great environment for developing self-confidence and other personal skills like networking and team awareness. At the end of the programme, you will learn to think more
creatively and entrepreneurially.

The course itself will take place in Bedfordshire from 31st May- 3rd June 2011.

Please note that your accommodation, course fees, food, drink and travel (travel up to £50) will all be paid for. You can apply online at www.cfel.jbs.cam.ac.uk and click on ‘Enterprisers’.

Applicants need to demonstrate their enthusiasm for developing entrepreneurial skills such as creativity, teambuilding and networking with others; and the course aims to bring together a broad mix of science, arts and business disciplines.

Successful Sussex applicants will be joining Doctoral students from universities around the UK, and from many different nationalities.

Due to the high value of the places, we would expect you to write a 500 word report on your experiences of the programme to help us ensure we gain feedback and potentially funding to send others on the course in the future.

If you have any questions or queries about the programme please give Sally Wright, Project Manager in Enterprise a call on 01273 873297.

For more info, please see this document about the programme.

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