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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org .