Introducing LU Enterprise Centre


Don’t think you’ve got what it takes to be a risk-taker? Well, think again. University provides the perfect environment for stepping out of your comfort zone and developing an entrepreneurial mind-set. Amanda Brooks and Simon Harrison of Lancaster University’s Enterprise Team share their insights gleaned from supporting students to make their ideas happen.

The Lancaster University Enterprise Centre is your gateway to the ecosystem of support for entrepreneurs and new enterprise for students at Lancaster University. The Centre aims to develop every student’s entrepreneurial acumen and offer them the chance to think innovatively, creatively and most importantly, freely towards ideas that would offer solutions for businesses and other social issues facing the world.

Lancaster University Enterprise Centre’s flagship event, ‘Make It Happen’ is a weeklong programme of activities aimed at plugging you into the innovation ecosystem at Lancaster University.  It’s your chance to get connected and boost your personal development as an independent learner and entrepreneurial thinker.

The event is for anyone looking to develop their interpersonal and professional skills, expand their network, meet employers and entrepreneurs including alumni of Lancaster University and exercise their creativity.

The event runs from the 11th – 19th November and offers a platform for personal and professional growth.

As part of the ‘Make it Happen’ event, LUEC is also proud to host the ‘Social Storm Hackathon’, a 24-hour hackathon which will run from the 18th-19th November, and allow you to work as part of a multidisciplinary team of students to design a sustainable solution for one of the real life global challenges of food security or sustainable housing, whilst also competing for a top prize of £1,000 to help make the idea happen!

The majority of events throughout the week may be counted towards your Lancaster Award Skills Bank, so the more you attend, the closer you are to achieving the award.

Simon Harrison, who is part of the Enterprise Team at Lancaster supports the University’s enterprising activity and works heavily with staff and students alike to develop their own innovative skills and ideas. Simon believes the events are vital for student growth and that ” Universities should be places where students feel confident to take risks and try new things.  If it fails, who cares? Just try to learn something along the way.”

How does it work?

You’ll work as part of a team, receiving invaluable input and insights from facilitators and experts to develop an idea into a sustainable business model, and prepare a presentation.

Once the clock starts, you’ll have 24 hours to establish your team roles and values, to analyse the problem, generate and prioritise solutions and test and refine all aspects of your business model.

How you use your time is up to your team to agree, but the event will culminate in you presenting your idea to a panel of judges who will be watching for a clear value proposition, a viable route to market, a sustainable social, environmental and financial model, and of course, excellent presentation skills.

How to I register?

To take part you must be available for the full 24 hours. Teams will be allocated at the event but you will need to pre-register. Tickets cost £5 and can be bought through the University’s online store. This fee includes food and refreshments over the 24 hours from GoBurrito, worth almost £20! So, all you need to bring with you are your brightest ideas, energy and creativity!

To summarise, the full programme for the week will include the following:

  • Social Storm – social innovation hackathon, with a chance to crack a global sustainable development challenge and win £1000
  • Run a food business for a week, using professional facilities, selling your creations to students to test your product and your market
  • Drop-in sessions with professional entrepreneurs and key service providers like accountants and solicitors
  • A range of ideation and creative-thinking games and challenges for you to play
  • Workshops to develop your leadership, commercial awareness and event planning skills
  • A tech startup master class with a very special guest

Participating in this competition will allow you to get more out of your time at University and make yourselves significantly more attractive to employers in the process.  Many have turned their ideas into fulfilling graduate careers.  So if you are thinking that your idea is silly, that it might be too hard or it might not work, stop with the analysis paralysis and just have a go.  The world is full of people wondering what might have been and it doesn’t seem to have made them very happy.  This needn’t be you.

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