Dr Kevan Williams, Course Leader for the new MSc Enterprise and Business Creation talks about some of the highlights of the programme, which will start in September 2015 and run from the new and innovative Enterprise Centre at UEA – set to be one of the most sustainable buildings in Europe.
Tell me about MSc Enterprise and Business Creation – it sounds very exciting!
This course is like no other master’s degree. It is designed specifically to get participants to start their own businesses so everything about the course is geared exactly towards that. It’s going to be taught in a different way, it’s going to be housed in a different place, not in a classroom, but in the UEA’s brand new Enterprise Centre which is going to be packed full of lots of different kinds of businesses.
Who is it perfect for?
The perfect applicant for this course looks like all sorts of people! The number one requirement is that they are really passionate about starting their own business. They have to be enthusiastic and really want to make it happen. Thereafter they could be absolutely anybody.
It doesn’t matter if applicants haven’t studied business before. The expectation is that most will be graduates, but that could be in any subject and we’re really excited that students will start businesses in a large variety of areas, covering science, technology, health and medicine, or the arts – it really could be in anything. The sky is the limit.
Whist we do expect most applicants to have a degree, we do have some flexibility. We know that there will be people interested who haven’t had an academic background, but do have business knowledge and experience, and we warmly welcome those sorts of people to apply as well.
Because we have a choice of four ‘exit routes’ the course is also perfect for those who don’t yet have a fully formed idea. Two of the final modules are specifically designed for people who don’t think they are going to start their businesses immediately, choosing to start it afterwards instead.
It’s about doing business.
I understand that the course will run from the new Enterprise Centre at UEA, can you tell me about what’s good about that?
Firstly, it’s fantastic because it’s not going to feel like a classroom. Students are going to be situated at the heart of a thriving business community from day one because the Enterprise Centre is leasing offices and other development spaces to businesses, so they’ll find themselves shoulder-to-shoulder with some very motivated people.
A lot of the other businesses occupying the building will also be really new and growing, so there will be a lot of emphasis on support services to provide help, not just at the Enterprise Centre, but in the material that we’ll be teaching too.
Every student will also have an established industry mentor, someone who has actually built, expanded and run successful businesses, and by being part of this new hub we’ll also attract investors.
What do you think is the biggest challenge to people wanting to set up their own businesses?
There are big issues surrounding funding at the moment and in the current financial climate it’s quite difficult to get hold of backing for new ideas.
Therefore the MSc Enterprise and Business Creation course is really unique because it has its own in-built investment funding for business proposals that are really promising and have the attraction of investors. That’s really important because at the beginning (when you have a great idea, but you don’t yet have a fully formed business) other investors can be put off funding you when you can’t yet show that your ideas work in practice. How do you get your business from your idea to being up and running? You need some support. We have our investment fund which will be able to put vital start-up capital into our students businesses.
Another really great aspect of the course is that using knowledge from the industry mentors will be able to open more doors to other pockets of funding and help participants make contacts in their chose field. So by coming on this course you get a lot further a lot more quickly, with tonnes of support, which means your business has a better chance of happening. Daily contact with other businesses, mentors, investors, which will help you to get through the tricky stage at where many others often fail.
The participants of this programme will be participants forever. They will leave UEA having started their businesses, but the expectation is that they will still be able to draw upon the community and knowledge here, and become the next generation of industry mentors and successful business professionals.
How do people apply and find out more if they are interested?
Have a look at the Norwich Business School website, where you can find information about all of our master’s degree programmes.