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The UCL Awards for Enterprise – inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs with stories of the last

newseditor25 May 2012

A startling and inspiring story marked UCL’s fifth Annual Awards for Enterprise – that of Professor Roger Ekins, who invented technology that enables a single drop of a newborn baby’s blood to be used to test for thousands of different substances and ensure that they begin life in the best possible health.

Yet the technology – now used in hospitals around the world and worth billions of dollars annually – started with research by one man, who was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award during the ceremony in recognition of his accomplishments.

It summed up the mood at the Awards – this year, with an appropriately chosen Olympic theme – of a feeling that a vision, with nurturance and support, can become a success that defies expectations.

Some visions for the enterprises awarded were very inspiring and exciting – especially Art Stavenka’s eye-catching bikes that can display 3D animations, ads and cartoons on the wheels.

A demonstration at the reception afterwards quickly grabbed the assembled guests’ attention, having already achieved that of the judges – resulting in an Award of £7,500 in funds to kick-start his business, Old Bond Ltd.

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UCL Entrepreneurship Guest Lecture: Edward Parkinson, Viagogo

newseditor26 January 2012

UCL Classics student Carolina Mostert summarises the talk held on 19 January below.

It is not the first time Edward Parkinson has engaged a UCL audience in an inspiring lecture. Having studied Chemistry at Oxford, Edward worked in consultancy in England and America. He joined Viagogo five years ago and is now Director of Viagogo’s UK offices.

The idea behind Viagogo is quite straightforward: it aims to make the experience of getting tickets for an event better and easier. Through technology and the internet, Viagogo promises to create a secure place to sell and buy tickets, guaranteeing transparency in the transaction.

In its early days, Viagogo was the official retail ticket holder for Chelsea FC. Football tickets, in fact, are the only tickets that, in order to be resold legally, need to be resold through an official website.

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UCL Entrepreneurship Guest Lecture: The Lovefilm Story

newseditor24 January 2012

The 2012 Entrepreneurship Guest Lecture Series kicked off on 12 January with Simon Calver, CEO of Lovefilm.

UCL Classics student Carolina Mostert summarises the talk below.

Simon Calver has an interesting story and CV for an entrepreneur. Since he was a child, the atmosphere around him was ‘entrepreneurial’, as his family owned a supermarket chain.

At university, he studied Computer Science and worked as a consultant for Deloitte. During his employment at Pepsi, he launched Pepsi Max and was Head of Sales in New York. Later on, he worked for Dell and for Riverdeep.

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UCL Entrepreneurship Guest Lecture 2011/12: Nicolas Hantzsch, Groupon UK & Ireland

newseditor19 December 2011

The eighth lecture of this series took place on 8 December. UCL Classics student Carolina Mostert summarises the talk below.

Nicolas Hantzsch’s talk did not feel like a lecture. It sounded more like an adventure story, something very unique and unusual. Nicolas completed a degree in informatics in Germany, moved on to financial studies and joined Pacific Stock Exchange. He then worked for a Dutch investment bank, an experience which left him with mixed feelings. After joining My City Deal, which can be described as a “Groupon copy”, he quit and enrolled in a Master’s degree at UCL. Fed up with academia, in a very ‘Bill Gates’ fashion, he dropped out of the course: he was going to be an entrepreneur. Then, the adventure with Groupon began.

“It’s been a roller coaster”, are Nicolas’s words to describe his experience. When he started at Groupon, he started at the bottom: what’s important at the beginning, he explains, is to learn the value chain at the heart of Groupon. “We are like a newspaper”: on a daily basis, Groupon has to offer new deals. Some of those will make the headlines, the bigger ones, and the other ones – although they’re not as flashy – must still appeal to people. Every Groupon deal, however, has an aim: to offer its customers the opportunity, and excuse, to always try something new.

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