Ron Dearing UTC students have completed a pioneering workshop to learn top tips which have helped some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs turn their ideas into thriving businesses.
Smarter Britain is a new business created by father and son entrepreneurs, adventurers and speakers Kevin and Matt Gaskell and ultimately aims to support entrepreneurs to build 1,000 new businesses in 1,000 days in Britain.
The two-day workshop, held at Ron Dearing UTC, was attended by Year 11, 12 and 13 students during the summer holidays and provided students with practical advice and tools to help them kick-start a successful business and build their own company.
Kevin was recognised as one of the UK’s top 40 leaders after driving the turnaround at industry giants Porsche, leading five years of growth at BMW and guiding the iconic Lamborghini brand.
He has built and transformed 15 companies since setting up his first internationally successful technology business and has now established Smarter Britain with Matt to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.
The workshop included learning more about the role of an entrepreneur, what a company is, how to build a marketing plan, business and financial planning, how to raise funding, understanding the market, team activities, business plan presentations and input from two leading entrepreneurs.
Graham Francis, owner of Cottingham-based Graham Francis Driving School, and Kate Goodman, owner of Reserve Wines in Manchester, told their success stories and shared how they became entrepreneurs, how they overcame challenges, what they would do differently if they started again and provided their best piece of advice for budding business founders.
Kevin, who has held Chief Executive Officer and Chairman positions for three decades, said: “We invited the Ron Dearing UTC students to build a plan for their own businesses and there were some really interesting ideas.
“They’re not thinking small – they’re thinking about serious businesses. Their ideas ranged from video games and sustainable clothing businesses to hydrogen-powered vehicle technology and solar-powered vehicles. I’m really impressed.
“These students have come along to this workshop during their summer holidays and that level of motivation and interest is immense.”
Smarter Britain follows a similar approach to an organisation Kevin is involved with in South Africa which has helped local entrepreneurs to create more than 3,000 new businesses.
Kevin and Matt also take a positive approach outside of their business interests. They have completed treks to both the North and South Poles and climbed some of the world’s highest mountains to raise money for cancer research. The father and son duo were also part of a five-person crew which set a new record for the fastest ever row across the Atlantic Ocean in 2020, raising funds to fight against plastics polluting the oceans.
Matt, who runs a leadership development business alongside Smarter Britain, said: “We can tailor the Smarter Britain workshop to different age groups. This was the first workshop we organised since we recently launched the business and the scale of the students’ ideas was amazing.”
Year 11 student Aoife Curran-Smirk, 15, who took part in the workshop, said: “We came up with the idea of a solar-powered vehicle business and built a plan around that. The workshop was eye-opening and I enjoyed learning how a proper business starts out and works.”
Fellow Year 11 student Mazin Amudi, 15, said: “We wanted to create a hydrogen-powered car company and we learnt how to start a business, promote it and persuade people to invest in it. I’d like to be an entrepreneur and the workshop was a great experience for me.”
Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley said: “We have a great track record of preparing students for university and apprenticeships and this workshop specifically focuses on developing young entrepreneurs who want to start their own businesses.
“This is the start of developing and building on what we offer and we hope to see a number of start-up companies coming out of Ron Dearing UTC in the future.
“We’re looking forward to working with Kevin and Matt as we roll this out across the school as part of our sixth form employability programme and to other UTCs and schools in the future.”
To find out more about Smarter Britain, visit www.smarterbritain.co.uk