Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Overcoming the competition hurdle

In September we celebrated 11 years of flare with a fabulous awards ceremony, bringing together players from the local business world, respected academics from across the University and some of our most exciting student and graduate start-ups. 

Awards and cash prizes were handed out for Best Growth Business, Best Start-up and Best Idea and thanks to sponsorship from Eisai we were able to hand out an additional prize for Healthcare Innovation.

Of course, proud as we are to have our own university enterprise challenge, you may feel that this one doesn’t quite meet your competition needs. If you’re totally baffled by the sheer number of enterprise and business start-up competitions out there and can’t quite decide which one to enter, then don’t panic! The enterprise team are constantly reviewing what else is out there and are on hand to point you in the direction of some of the UK’s top competitions to sink your teeth into.

Taking the plunge and filling out that first application form or standing in front of the camera to produce a video entry can be a daunting prospect. There’s often a theme to enterprise competitions that goes a little something like this:

Step 1 – submit a 60 second video entry/short pitch of your idea. As the saying goes “practice makes perfect” so start by finding a family member or a friend you can trust and give it a go. 60 seconds isn’t long so write down the key things you want people to learn about your business. What’s your unique selling point, how did you come up with the idea, what research have you carried out and how do you see yourself marketing the product/service bearing in mind you may have a limited budget.

Step 2 – prepare a detailed business plan. Tricky at first, so break it down into its constituent parts, work on your stronger areas first and if you need a little help on the weaker areas then look to those around you, classmates, academics, entrepreneurs, book an appointment with one of our enterprise advisors. What starts out as an uphill struggle can soon seem like a walk in the park. Whatever happens on the competition front, you can be proud of the fact that you have written a detailed plan of action. Next time you’re looking for that loan, talking to a potential investor or just having a chat at an enterprise networking event you can feel confident knowing that you have this business plan to hand should anyone ask for more detailed information.

Step 3 – the final round. If you make it to this stage you can give yourself a pat on the back as you’re probably down to the final few, so whatever happens from here on in it’s fair to say you’ve already impressed the judges and made a big impact.

To find out more about the flare competition at the University of Hertfordshire, visit our website: http://www.herts.ac.uk/flare and good luck!

Kate Serby
Enterprise Advisor
Careers and Employment

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