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Starting your own small business: Safe & Sound Festival Services, a case study

Weronika Z Benning26 February 2016

#UCLInspireMe

As part of our #UCLInspireMe series, Joseph Newton, Co-Founder at Safe & Sound, talks to us about startups and shares some tips for UCL students who want to get into entrepreneurship. For more insights from recent graduates working for smaller organisations, search #SMEProfile.

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How did you get into your role?

I first became interested in starting a company just before I moved to UCL to do my PhD in Biochemical Engineering. Once at UCL, I quickly realised that there were a lot of opportunities here to help me achieve this goal. My department allowed me to study MBA Electives at London Business School, which gave me a great foundation in business. In the first year of my doctorate, a group of friends and I entered Engineering YES (Young Entrepreneurs Scheme) and won a few prizes (including winning our heat). This was the first time that I seriously considered entrepreneurship as a career.

A year later, after being approached by Jordan (Co-Founder) with a business idea, we entered and won the UCL Advances’ Idea Accelerator; an 8 week accelerator programme designed to help students bring their ideas to life. Having obtained funding through a UCL Bright Ideas Award, we have since been working to turn the business plan into reality, Safe & Sound Festival Services.

Safe & Sound Festival Services is a luggage transportation service for festival goers (from cities to festival sites). Through our service, we are aiming to reduce carbon emissions at festivals by (1) encouraging the use of public transport, and (2) by reducing waste left at the festival site (we offer a return luggage service). http://www.sasfestivalservices.com/
What are the best things about working in your role?

The best thing about running a startup is the freedom to operate; I see a direct result of the actions that we take (whether it’s good or bad!), and every day I learn something new. I know that a lot of people find entrepreneurship to be a lonely path, however working with Jordan makes everything we do a lot more entertaining. We also support each other and complement each other’s skill sets.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your work?

The biggest challenge is undoubtedly managing to balance my PhD and running a startup. Another big challenge is establishing clear procedures and policies for situations that we haven’t come across before. Also, building credibility as a startup and fostering relationships in a slow-moving industry is a challenge that we are currently facing.
What top tips would you give to a student interested in this type of work?

UCL Advances is a great place to start if you’re interested in starting a company. You can read as much as you want, but the best experience is through action. My top tip? Get a contract signed for everything you do!
Are there currently any opportunities for UCL students with Safe & Sound?

Safe & Sound is currently looking for an intern to join us this summer to help with marketing, sales and managing operations. Our website can be found here:

We are looking for an intern to work with us as part in the UCL Advances summer internship scheme this year.

Safe & Sound is looking for UCL undergraduates (or recent graduates) to join their vibrant startup this summer for an 8-12 week internship. Students should be prepared to get involved in all areas of the business, however should be particularly interested in marketing and sales, operations, the live music/festival industry, logistics and events management. Pay is £250 pw tax-free. Please apply with CV and cover letter to info@sasfestivalservices.com .

Or visit: http://jobonline.thecareersgroup.co.uk/ucl/student/DisplayVacancy.aspx?id=e9241ac1-4ac1-46ba-abed-eb8ac084e808

Entrepreneur: Inspire Me

UCL Careers18 June 2015

As part of our #UCLInspireMe series, Tarek Pewter, Cofounder of Wakefield Media talks to us about how he got started cofounding a business and shares some tips for UCL students wWakefield Media Tarek Pewter Imageho wants to start their own business.  

How did you get into your role?
I’m the cofounder of Wakefield Media – a digital & experiential content creator that helps folks connect with exciting companies. I’m a repeat entrepreneur and I found myself here after my last company didn’t materialize into what we had hoped, after 2 years of trying. I have experience in event production and launched a concept event in the Summer of 2011 for emerging startups that are hiring and it took off like wildfire – a few months later we pursued a greater mission by launching Wakefield and incorporating our events into it. In March of 2012, Wakefield was born and Uncubed, our event, continued to grow.

What are the best things about working in your role?

I’m an entrepreneur, so my perks are a bit different than others. I create my own schedule, I get to have the largest influence on what is important to pursue and what isn’t, I get to meet a slew of interesting people, including successful entrepreneurs, policy makers and amazing talent. The nature of our company also gives us unusual insight into what companies are working on and what it’s like to work there – so we are often visiting the offices of great, young companies and getting a look to see what they are building. It’s very inspiring.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your work?

Moving quickly and providing your community with content, experiences and product that they are yearning for. We connect people to great companies, so not having a platform to facilitate that sets us back. Until now, we didn’t have a job board or any technology to help solve this problem and it was tough on us as a business. We are now learning how to bring tech into our community, and it’s a challenge, since the team we’ve built, to date, is made up entirely of folks that are NOT technical (almost 15 of us now).

Other challenges we face, like anyone else, is vying for the attention of our audience. This is when competition plays a larger role in the decisions our business makes. If you do not move fast enough or capture an growing audience quick enough, then someone else will – and it’s much harder to get their attention at that point.

Finally, perhaps the challenge you’ll hear most often from founders, finding and managing talent. Ensuring your employees are always challenged, fairly compensated and enjoying what they do is a tireless job and one most managers (including myself) do not do well enough.

What top tips would you pass on to a student interested in this type of work?

Spend time with people who are in a position you desire to be in. It will quickly teach you whether or not this is a road you’d like to pursue. That person, should you pursue this path, could (and should) become a long-term mentor to help you overcome obstacles and stay motivated.

First time entrepreneurs almost always fail initially. So it’s important that one understands it’s not about success out the gates as much as it’s about building a legacy (should you be pursuing entrepreneurship to make an impact – which all entrepreneurs should) – and building a legacy means suffering failures, learning from them and teaching along the way. Success comes to those who work hard at something they care about – it’s inevitable.

To find our more about how to start your own business, visit Careers Tagged or speak to UCL Advances