What is your role?
At The University of Lincoln, I lead Student Enterprise, which enables students and graduates from all disciplines and levels to explore their potential for generating ideas, running their own businesses, and developing business skills in order to enhance their employability.
What is your background?
Prior to my current role I spent 7 years teaching & managing in Further & Higher Education as a Curriculum Manager & Programme Leader. During my time as a Programme Leader, I was proud to launch the Level 3 Enterprise & Entrepreneurship programme at The Grimsby Institute which aimed at supporting vocational FE learners to start-up their own business.
Before entering teaching, I worked for SMEs in the private sector in both the UK & USA in a variety of sectors. Working for small businesses really made me understand the needs for being an intrapreneur and helping the business to grow, regardless of my role or responsibility. I gained a great understanding of the importance of excellent customer service whilst working in Wellfleet Massachusetts, where meeting customer expectations was key to the businesses continued reputation as a leader in its field.
I am also a Chartered Member of CMI & Fellow of the Institute of Enterprise & Entrepreneurs and believe it’s vital to maintain and develop your networks at all times.
What is your favourite element of the job?
I love supporting student and graduates who are passionate about wanting to be their own bosses. This can be at the earlier idea generation stage to those who are already trading but wanting to grow. By being a neutral sounding board and providing impartial advice and guidance really helps them feel like they have an outlet of support.
Within your role, what are your strengths?
My role is to be generalist and not specifically a specialist, I provide a sound board and not to tell a student or graduate entrepreneur what to do or what not to do but help discuss the options open to them and how we can help connect and join the dots. I am a qualified enterprise mentor and can provide guidance and help to those starting a business.
Any advice/tips for any student entrepreneurs reading this?
My biggest advice is always to do as much research as you can, don’t just consider ‘is there a gap in the market, think is there a market in the gap!’’. Have a real think about the product/service, what you need to start, when you will need it and plan for the level of financial support required to get it off the ground, and importantly what’s needed for continued growth. Try to utilise grant funding and other funding streams that don’t require giving away equity at the beginning. And finally, make sure you protect any IP and trademarks as soon as possible.
If you have any questions for Reece about any aspect of starting a business, you can book in a 1-2-1 meeting with him via our Get In Touch section of our website.