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Manchester’s first Venture Crawl shines a spotlight on entrepreneurship

More than 40 students from across The University of Manchester have taken part in the city’s inaugural Venture Crawl, a unique one-day event that saw students visit some of Manchester’s accelerator spaces and most inspiring start-ups to understand exactly what it takes to start your own business.

The event, which was led by a team from the Masood Enterprise Centre at Alliance Manchester Business School, was designed to showcase Manchester’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and give students a real-life insight into every aspect of the world of business.

Students kick-started their day at WeWork on John Dalton Street to visit The Coaching Manual, where they heard from CEO Terry Barton and had a tour of their space. Since founding The Coaching Manual in 2011, Terry has spearheaded the growth and development of business into the world’s premier digital football coaching platform. Borne out of a love of football and technology, Terry and his team now partner with the likes of Southampton Football Club, the League Managers Association and Rangers Football Club to help football coaches and players drive improved performance.

This was followed by a visit to Seven Bro7hers Brewery Co in Salford, where brother Keith McAvoy spoke about the innovative collaboration that saw Seven Bro7hers partner with Kellogg’s to create three new craft beers from surplus cereal. With sustainability a key topic for any modern business, Keith was able to share the backstory to the Throwaway IPA, Cast Off Pale Ale and Sling it Out Stout – all of which were created with ‘upcycled’ cereals that were considered too big, too small, or too overcooked for general sale.

Jessica Grocutt, Enterprise Officer at the Masood Enterprise Centre, said: “It’s our mission to encourage and support start-up businesses, so the more we can do to help students that are at the start of that journey, the better. We believe there is no better way of fostering bright ideas and encouraging their development than showing students exactly how it can be done. Starting your own business can often feel out of reach, but by hearing the inspirational stories from some successful start-ups across our city, we’re hopeful those creative minds we have here in Manchester will have learnt new skills and feel empowered to go and turn their idea into a reality.”

Students closed the day with a visit to workspace accelerator Huckletree, which is aiming to re-energise the workspace market by adopting a model that does not solely focus on desk space. Instead, they argue workspace providers must go one step further to build a trusted and curated network of people, mentors, investors and experts, as well as providing the services entrepreneurs need to grow their business.
The event, which also featured visits to the ethical fashion business Stand4Socks and accommodation provider Vita Student, included the chance for students to develop their skills, confidence and creative thinking, as well as establishing useful connections and networks.

John Eustace, a part-time Global MBA student who attended the event commented: “I have taken part in previous MEC events and always been impressed with the entrepreneurial spirit that they foster and encourage and the Venture Crawl was no exception. When I spotted the event being advertised, it seemed like a great opportunity to get to know businesses closer to home, and learn about the support available to start-ups around Manchester.”

He added: “My favourite part of the day was meeting one of the founding brothers of Seven Bro7hers, who I found really engaging and, like the other entrepreneurs, offered honest and extensive answers to our numerous questions. I think my main take away from the day was that things don't happen by themselves; you need desire and passion behind your business idea along with a slice of luck!”

The event follows the success of the London Venture Crawl, which this year involved more than 450 students from over 16 London universities, and will be rolled out annually in Manchester to offer more students the chance to learn what it takes to start a business.

Read more about opportunities at the Masood Enterprise Centre >>