NACUE’s Student Enterprise Conference (SEC), now in its sixth year, was held in Liverpool this past weekend (Saturday 31st January – Sunday 1st February) at the Redmonds Building on Liverpool John Moores University campus. NACUE is the National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs, a membership organisation that supports over 200 entrepreneurial societies in both colleges and universities across the UK.
The SEC 2015, in partnership with Santander, brought together over 500 students and graduates from all around the country for two days of inspiration, discovery, networking and practical workshops. The conference was kicked off with a welcome note from the CEO of NACUE, Johnny Luk, who urged attendees to take action to turn their ideas into a reality, sharing one of his favourite quotes: ‘be the chess player, not the chess piece’.
The immediate past Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr Gary Millar, and Professor David Gibson OBE, Startup Manager at Liverpool John Moores University followed with welcome addresses, highlighting the thriving startup scene in Liverpool and urging the audience to take advantage of the vast networking opportunities the conference and the city provide.
The talks and presentations during both days were arranged in several ‘Breakout Sessions’ allowing attendees choose for themselves what activities to participate in. Speakers at the conference included BBC Apprentice candidate and founder of Ella Jade Designs, Ella Jade; founder of Made.com, Julien Callede; Ross Kemp, founder of ASAP Water Crafts; Alan Radbourne of the One Pound Challenge, recent graduate who embarked on a journey to make a living out of an initial £1 invest and managed to turnover £20,000 in only 12 months; 16-year old Ben Towers, who already employs 15 people under his company, Towers Design; Ella Romanos of Strike Gamelabs; Jennifer Onah, Creative Director of Ferona Luxury Fashion House; Richard Booth, founder of Campus Industries; amongst other successful entrepreneurs and enterprise champions.
Sessions were also provided on big data, learning to code, learning to pitch , and several debate panels were held over the course of conference, discussing topics from leadership to women in tech.
Drawing over 500 students, graduates, and academics from cities across the UK, the conference was a huge success. About its mission and the city, Luk said: ‘I love Liverpool, not only is the night scene amazing, the people are also friendly. I am so inspired, having met so many passionate people, people who are ready to break rules. No matter who you are, where you come from, how old you are, you can make it. We need the world to know that we are creating a different society – one not only interested in making money, but helping people and saving lives. That is how important this is, and we have to do more of it.’