Jaakko Järviniemi, a second year BSc Management student, shares his experience attending the Ingenuity19 development programme, which incorporates a business competition, skills training and a forum to discuss world-changing ideas.
What is the Ingenuity19?
Often when students think about becoming an entrepreneur, they believe they first need a mind-blowing, show-stopping, mic-dropping idea, and then they must find an investor who signs them a million-pound cheque. But what if there was another way?
For me, that alternative way was the Ingenuity19, hosted at the University of Nottingham. Ingenuity19 is what you get when you mix an entrepreneurship development programme, with idea generation forums and a case competition with the chance of winning £150,000. It is a brilliant opportunity for budding entrepreneurs and community innovators to come together, and explore key challenges facing society and for this year, it was open to the public.
What was so different about Ingenuity19, compared to other entrepreneurship competitions?
Before my team and I signed up to compete in the Ingenuity19 with our business idea, we attended two inspirational weekend summits in Nottingham. This would not have been possible without the very generous Associate Dean’s Student Experience Fund from Warwick Business School. The fund covered our travel and accommodation expenses, which allowed us to focus on absorbing all the learning we possibly could in preparation for the competition.
In addition to hearing from renowned speakers, such as the Head of Google for start-ups, the two weekends were filled with hands-on problem-solving sessions which greatly improved my skillset in this area. At the Future Communities Summit, we identified ways to create greater economic activity in low-income communities. Later in the Future Technology Summit, we looked at the impact of technology and how businesses can prepare themselves for the increasingly rapid technological changes. The ‘Ingenuity Process’ helped my team identify the problem and solution that we would present in the competition and try our chances at winning the £150,000 prize.
At Ingenuity19, the focus wasn’t so much on the idea that you proposed, but the process behind the idea. That’s why we were given weekly training material to develop our business skillset, from operations to accounting and marketing, to validate and improve our start-up idea. This was different from other similar competitions as we weren’t left to battle our problems on our own. Instead, we received support and material throughout the six-week period and were given the skills and tools required to develop our entrepreneurial skillset.
What did you gain from the experience?
There isn’t a £150,000 cheque in my pocket right now, however, the Ingenuity19 competition was invaluable because it gave me skills that I can apply to the rest of my undergraduate degree and future career. In addition to improving my knowledge and developing my networking skills, I have realised that there is always time to do something that you are passionate about.
My team and I spent two consecutive weekends in Nottingham, in addition to preparing a 2000 word business plan, and allocating time to study weekly online material as part of our development plan. It was a lot of work to balance alongside our studies, however, I am so happy that I took part because the process taught me that no matter how busy you are, or believe you are, you always have the capacity to do more. Of course, it is important to keep some spare capacity and to not burn yourself out, but if you are passionate about something you will always manage to allocate some time towards your future goals.
What would you say to other students who are trying to pursue their goals?
Whether your goal is to become an entrepreneur or an investor, there are many paths to reach your goals. While university is a crucial part of your development and future, it is worth looking into opportunities outside of your academic studies which will enrich your learning experience. Whatever you do in addition to your studies, I believe that it will always bring you closer to your goals. From being involved in Ingenuity19, I have made new connections and I believe that being involved in something that is a little different is never a bad thing.
I encourage you to find your passion and figure out different ways to get you closer to your goals. When you do find an event or a competition that you are passionate about, do not let anything hold you back. You will have time and energy for it and the Associate Dean’s Student Experience Fund available at WBS provides you with a fantastic opportunity to attend events like Ingenuity19 and follow your dreams.
The Associate Dean’s Student Experience Fund at WBS has been created to support current students financially who are interested in pursuing projects that will help the student develop and apply their knowledge and skills learnt within their undergraduate course towards, for example, a volunteering opportunity or case challenge.
If you are a WBS student who may be interested in applying for The Associate Dean’s Student Experience Fund, please see the information posted on my.wbs.