UMI3 and Unipreneur deliver some great onliners

25 budding student entrepreneurs recently gathered in the UMI3 Innovation Centre for a full week’s immersion in setting up an online business. Led by internet entrepreneur Nikolay Piryankov, co-founder of Diamonds In Africa (www.diamondsinafrica.com), the first Unipreneurs learnt to build a website, market it, create interesting content, talk to their first customer and make a sale. The programme was supported by UMI3 as part of its new HEIF funded IQuBiT (I-cube-it) digital accelerator aiming to inspire, invent and innovate a new generation of software, social networking and digital ventures. IQuBit will support ideas for information and communication technology based products and services created by researchers, students or recent alumni connected to The University of Manchester.

Nikolay, an MBS graduate and online retailer of ethically sourced diamonds and jewelry led the first cohort in his own free time. ‘’The event was sold out in 3 hours and we had to have a waiting list. I am keen to put back my experiences of online business development to help UMI3 kick start their activities supporting student digital enterprise at the University. For those who attended it was a valuable and rewarding experience and almost all lasted what was a tough and intensive week.”

The Unipreneur programme was widely marketed with the help of Manchester Entrepreneurs student enterprise society. Fahim Sachedina the current President said, “We know there is a great depth of student talent in our membership waiting to be unleashed, with the help of Nikolay and UMI3 we were able to help up skill some of that budding entrepreneurial talent. We hope to make Unipreneur a regular feature on our expanding agenda. I will soon be moving into IQuBit and look forward to working alongside these new businesses.”

The final conclusion to the week was a series of pitches for the newly established businesses. Prizes of a Kindle and preloaded enterprise books were given out for Best Overall Performer of the Week to Makam Ramesh Kaushik - MSc Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship, Best Business Pitches were won by Lexie Xuezi - MSc Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship and Haider Khokhar – 3rd Year Electrical Systems Engineering. A Facebook group has been setup for continuing the group interaction and to encourage other potential business starters: https://www.facebook.com/groups/417479681652088/

Tony Walker of UMI3 said, “We had representation from students in all Faculties, showing how pervasive enterprise is across The University of Manchester. Through IQuBit students or recent alumni connected to the University now have an excellent way to quickly start up in digital enterprise. Ideas do not necessarily have to have any initial Intellectual Property to be considered for support, and might include web-based, mobile apps, social networking, gaming, cloud-based, software, etc. Typically these types of ideas can be built early on ‘lean start’ up principles.”

Do you have an idea, are already running an initiative but would like to be based in a supportive environment, or indeed just curious to find out more, then please contact UMI3 for an informal and confidential discussion.

Ellie Sagar, IQuBit - Assistant Project Manager 0161 606 7265 ellie.sagar@umi3.com