It is great to take a moment to stop and reflect on what we have been up to during 2017, because as a team we have done so much and helped so many. The last 12 months have been a massively successful for Student Enterprise at London Met and we’re really proud of all the students who have come through our programmes, sat down for a 1-2-1 business advice session and gone on to create great products and services.

2017 kicked off with the Big Idea Challenge,  our university wide idea competition open to students, graduates and staff. This year we had over 200 applications submitted, and the online voting from our final 12 finalists received over 10,000 votes from 124 countries. We were also very fortunate and excited to have our awards night hosted by HRH the Duke of York, at St James’ Palace.

In the lead up to our intensive 12 week Launchpad programme, which helps students validate their business ideas to ensure their viability, we noticed a gap and so we launched our Quickstart programme. Aimed at students who are looking to go freelance, or with pre-validated ideas who can launch very quickly, Quickstart offers them all the tools and tips they’ll need. We selected 30 students from over 100 applications to take part, with product and service ideas ranging from an interpretation service, a Furniture Makers Collective to Caribbean sweets. We covered everything from motivation and setting goals, to who your business is for and why they want it. We went through branding, websites and using social media for engaging with customers. Growth marketing expert, Co-Founder of Adludio and London Met alumni Howard Kingston explained how best to find your first 1000 customers and we also went through best practices of finance, funding and legal considerations.

Launchpad ran during the summer with 15 teams taking part. The programme focuses around the idea that there are no failures, only feedback on how to do things better. Our participants looked at a real-world case studies, worked their own ideas into the Business Model Canvas – the 9 steps that are essential in order to keep ideas moving. Each week our 15 teams split into two groups and presented their customer research and feedback.

For the final week the students presented their progress from throughout the programme, including their customer validation, lean market testing and next steps to launching their startup venture.

There was one again an interesting mix of products and services that emerged from the programme, including:

  • Trim It app who are set to revolutionise the world of men’s barbering
  • Grafton Saddler who create bespoke leather work and upholstery for bicycle contact points
  • Newport Works who are set to revolutionise the world of portfolio cases for creatives; and
  • Match Your Vibe, a platform for incredible, curated complimentary outfits for couples (think classy matchy matchy)

We dazzled the crowds at this years Freshers Fair using our amazing spinning prize wheel! Everyone who played won a prize, which for some meant a high five!

We took part in the Fast Forward Festival and Making A Living Week, both designed to fast track students towards excellent careers after university. We continued to work with the Guildhall School of Business and Law through the Create a Winning Business module. We also continued working with The Cass on the Market Ready module where a teams of students created products for the Christmas Market, as well as working with the Summer Show and Making Matters modules.

We ran 3 Day Startup at Rise London and put the students through an incredible 48-hour learning-by-doing, weekend workshop to teach them entrepreneurial skills in an extreme hands-on environment. Participants arrived with or without startup ideas, were taken through dedicated brainstorming, preliminary pitches/feedback, and team selection modules. Some teams worked late into the night before day two which involved customer discovery (teams exit the building or hit the phones and talk to potential customers), structured mentorship, intermediate pitches and feedback sessions. After continued execution and refinement (including pitch workshops) the students pitched/demoed their businesses to an esteemed panel of mentors and investors.

We gave away 12 stalls for our Christmas Market at the Old Truman Brewery UpMarket, on Brick Lane this year; an excellent opportunity for London Met’s best designer-makers and recent London Met graduates to sell their handmade products. This year students and graduates taking part sold products ranging from candles, ceramic pots, coasters, jewellery, bath bombs, hot chocolate, tote bags and much more!

2017 was an amazing year, and we’re very excited to see what 2018 brings!