Wednesday 28 November 2012
Bruce Dickinson, lead singer of legendary rock group Iron Maiden, took to the stage at the Queen Mary Innovation Forum on Tuesday 20 November. Dr Dickinson, a QM History alumnus, as well as a rock star, airline pilot and aviation business owner, was key note speaker the event, held at the People’s Palace, featuring entrepreneurs who have studied or worked at QM.
Dickinson’s keynote speech focused on what it means to be an entrepreneur, from his first forays into business at 12-years-old with a ‘rent a pencil’ scheme at school. He advised guests at the Innovation Forum that to be a success they will have to show great determination and energy, sacrifice sleep and always remember why they started their own business in the first place.
While “most things have already been discovered”, Dickinson told budding entrepreneurs to look at things from a different angle: “What an entrepreneur sees is opportunities and the world in a different way. Most things in the world have been discovered, but an entrepreneur will see an opportunity and how to look at things from a different direction.”
“Business is really about building and facilitating relationships; Remember that without the customer, your invention or idea is nonsense. You also need to know your limitations and what you can and can’t do, take time to pick the right partners and to trust them.”
The Innovation Forum at the People’s Palace - part of the university’s Mile End campus - featured a panel of entrepreneurs, including several Queen Mary alumni who have achieved success in a range of business sectors.
Dr Stuart Battersby, who holds a PhD in Human Interaction from QM, is creator of Chatterbox Analytics, a software package that analyses conversation data between people on social media, and then uses this information to help businesses connect with their consumers. Chatterbox is backed by Queen Mary Innovation (QMI) and telecommunication giant, Telefonica’s Wayra accelerator scheme, which supports new businesses by offering advice and training.
Karen Baratram, who undertook her MSc in Environmental Consultancy at QM, now runs a vegan cake business, Ronlikescakes, inspired by her time working on a Californian farm sanctuary. Whilst studying for her MSc, Karen successfully secured funding from QM through the Knowledge East Enterprise Network (KEEN). After setting up her own workshop, Karen is moving toward running her business on a full time basis.
Following the event, other entrepreneurs showcased their businesses and inventions, many of which have received funding and support from Queen Mary Innovation (QMI). There was also an opportunity for budding entrepreneurs to find out how they can apply for funding through QMI.