Innovation Workshop: Alumni inspire scholars with start-ups

03 Feb 2017
Nurbanu Asena Social Media Ambassador

Last Friday, Chevening Scholars met at Liverpool University for the Innovation Workshop hosted by Mexican Chevening Alumni Laura Vanessa Munoz (2006), Guilherme Silva (Brazil, 2001), and Manoj Krishnapillai (India, 2009). It was the only alumni event of the year and I was lucky to be able to hear what they went on to do after completing their Chevening Scholarships. 

The program started with Laura introducing the young Cheveners to her recent start-up business, Empowering Futures, which she had launched in London. Through Empowering Futures, she connects bright entrepreneurs with talented university students to collaborate on specific projects, giving the students life skills and supporting their future chances of success. She continued to introduce the UK’s innovation and entrepreneurial scene and the possible networking options - like meet-ups, panels - in London. 

Manoj then took over the stage by presenting the trending cities in the Global startup scene. While Cheveners briefly talked about the start-up scenes in their own countries, Manoj short-listed Bulgaria, Tunisia, Malaysia, Australia, and Egypt as some of the most promising startup destinations around the globe. Even though the size of these hubs are different, Manoj stated that there’s a significant governmental or private support for the start-ups in these countries. Aside from financial support, Manoj talked about the other significant factors: a central location, a young population, market options, the talent pool and the favorable weather, all of which allow innovation to flourish. He then explained his own start-up journey of his company MobME, and how it became a success story in India.

It’s important to be able to define why you want to be an entrepreneur, what kind of a market awaits your business or product, and the value of that market. Currently a managing director of HSBC Bank based in London, Guilherme informed the Cheveners about the persistency and ambition they need to carry during the fundraising period. He summarised the definitions of debts and grants and talked about the different funding stages and options for start-up companies. He also illustrated the perimeters of a winning pitch, which then led up to a group exercise of pitching for a start-up business idea.

While everyone gathered in groups, discussing their start-up subjects to pitch to the alumni, I thought about the three main things I took from the day. My new points of view now include the necessity of innovation around the world, how the necessary perimeters change depending on where you live, and how amazing it is to connect with a group of entrepreneurial Chevening Alumni through an innovation workshop. I look forward to watching my fellow Chevener friends succeed in their start-up ideas in future!