My Experience with Entrepreneurship on the MSc Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship (IME) course
In my last blog - My Experience on the IME course, I reflected on my experience of joining the IME course to learn how to manage the process of innovation in a large organisation. I also emphasised how the entrepreneurship spirit on the course inspired me to start a social enterprise in a few years.
But guess what? Just one semester later, I am not only equipped with the tools and competencies to manage innovation in large firms, but have also received my first grant to launch a social enterprise.
It all started with the Bright Ideas Competition, the University of Manchester’s annual student idea competition, where my friend and I were declared winners for our GoSafe app. The app is dedicated to helping students build their trust networks, share experiences and discover safe routes across Manchester.
Winning the competition was a pivotal point in my entrepreneurship journey. It led to the emergence of self-affirmation within me and helped me discover that it is by making a positive impact that I truly achieve self-actualisation. Yet this was only the beginning …
I found myself attending inspirational talks on social entrepreneurship hosted by the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre (MEC), participating in Accelerate Me workshops and contemplating problems worth solving after classes with my friends in the new Engineering building.
The journey involved several (mini) setbacks and challenges as I tried to keep up with the course, extracurricular activities, and social life, and I didn't know where my new interest in entrepreneurship would take me next.
Two days before the deadline for the Venture Further Startup Competition, I came up with a business idea that turned out to be the start of my social entrepreneurship journey. With the support of my friends and feedback from my professors, I developed a business plan for my idea. Ellie and the MEC team helped me realise the potential that my ideas had, and I was soon preparing for a presentation pitch as a finalist in the Social Category.
Not long ago, my social enterprise, Beyond 9 (which aims to provide mothers with the resources and the support to help them restart their careers post maternity leave/ prolonged career breaks), received second place in the Venture Further Awards in May. You can watch them below:
Interlude (and some advice)
Although, reflecting back on my experience, it was not only the two days' worth of effort that helped me create a business plan; but also everything in between that prepared me for that moment, including some of the IME courses that introduced me to the notion of new venture creation and development.
Several courses in the IME programme discuss innovation strategy within large organisations, but three courses in particular focus on new ventures. If you are an incoming entrepreneur on the course, I would highly recommend these:
● High Tech Entrepreneurship - Karl’s introduction to lean startup and the principles for translating a real-life problem into a business idea will provide you with the skills necessary to launch and grow your technology venture.
● Business Creation and Development - In Adam’s course, you will learn about analytical tools and techniques for strategic analysis and apply them to make recommendations for a real-life new venture, acting as consultants.
● Developing Enterprising Individuals - In this self-development course, the course leaders Jonathan and Rob introduce you to various personal analysis tools to help you reflect on and develop skills like networking and public speaking - essential for becoming an entrepreneur and intrapreneur.
In addition, if you want to learn more about the process of managing innovations, the following courses might interest you -
● Innovation Management - Bruce’s course introduces some core concepts in managing innovation within firms, including strategy, innovative business models, and management of research and development (R&D) teams.
● Case Studies in Technology Strategy & Innovation Management - Andrew leads this very practical course focused on understanding how firms can respond to change, and position themselves to gain a competitive advantage. The lectures are delivered through a series of guest lectures that work in the field of innovation and strategy.
I never really thought of myself as an entrepreneur, but the modules on the IME course helped me unlock the potential I have. Although, it is only by applying the insights gained from the programme to real life that I truly made an impact.
Even though I am approaching the end of my journey at the University of Manchester - this isn’t the end. While preparing to launch my social enterprise, I am writing my dissertation - exploring how middle managers navigate and overcome potential emotional barriers to the innovation process in incumbent firms.
Going forward, I hope my startup and the outcomes of my dissertation will make a significant social impact by championing women in all stages of their life. And I hope to return with some exciting developments after graduating, which I’ll write all about in my next blog!