Manchester Entrepreneurs - one of the UK’s most successful student enterprise societies
One of the great things about working at MSP is getting to know the huge range of customers, partners and individuals that we work with across Manchester.
Home to a diverse community of innovators and entrepreneurs, even a short stroll down the corridor of one of our buildings means catching up with inspirational people and finding out about their latest innovations.
This month we spoke with Manchester Entrepreneurs, a student enterprise society that started in 2008 and now has over 4,500 members. By connecting students, start-ups and entrepreneurs, Manchester Entrepreneurs spark a relationship between these groups to encourage beneficial partnerships.
We asked Manchester Entrepreneurs Chairmen, Fritz Lensch and Kiran Arokiasamy, a few questions to get to know more about them and what they are up to.
1. How would you describe what M-E does in a few sentences?
Our main goal is to encourage entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship within the student and graduate community. We do this by connecting them with the wider ecosystem of startups and businesses in the corporate world.
As students at the University of Manchester, we know how difficult it can be getting your foot in the door and finding valuable work experience to set you on the right path after university.
The team here at Manchester Entrepreneurs each specialise in different areas and have their own network of contacts supported by staff at the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, the team at Manchester Science Partnerships and other partners across the city. When you’re a member of M-E, we help you connect with people in this huge network depending on what you need and want.
Students and graduates are full of new and creative ideas, so not only do the connections that we create help students get valuable work opportunities, but they also bring an innovative spark to bigger businesses. This two-way relationship is what underpins the success of Manchester Entrepreneurs.
With more and more people seeing the benefit of having young people in their business, Manchester is quickly becoming the UK’s ‘startup city’ thanks to the willingness of partners and communities collaborating and coming together.
2. What is ME currently working on?
For the team at Manchester Entrepreneurs, it is important that conferences, workshops and events are organised that act as a place for students, graduates, startups and businesses to meet and engage. The whole purpose of these events is for people to interact with each other, learn new skills, and forge valuable relationships with startups and businesses from across Manchester.
We want to shift away from traditional lecture-style ways of learning and development, and instead really encourage people to make connections and bridge the gap between the student community and the working world.
3. What are you most proud of in terms of ME’s successes and achievements?
When we see businesses and students connect and form a valuable relationship, we know we are doing our job right. It is always great to know we are facilitators in helping students and alumni get started in their careers.
Our big events and conferences are always hugely successful, since they attract people from all across the country and we get the chance to show off Manchester.
The relationships we have with Manchester Science Partnerships and the Universities have also been key to our success. By having this credible support network who are always on hand to help, we have been able to get behind a number of funding opportunities to invest in the work that we are doing.
4. What is your favourite thing about working with different sectors in Manchester?
The team at Manchester Entrepreneurs is made up of eight people, not only from eight different university courses but from eight different places in the world. When we all come together on one topic, whether to offer support, build our events programme or talk about our next conference, it’s so fun to hear so many different ideas and viewpoints, and then ultimately come together for the outcome.
Because we each have our own networks, you end up getting to know so many different people who are working on really cool projects across the city. It’s really great to be part of such a huge vibrant and creative community.
5. What is your favourite thing about being based on a Manchester Science Partnerships campus?
When we were first introduced to the team at MSP by the previous Chairman of the University of Manchester, we were invited over to check out MSP’s community and spaces.
Straight away we were offered so much support by the team, including the chance to meet the huge community of entrepreneurs and startups at Manchester Science Park. We met with Anne Dornan, head of innovation and partnerships, and she was immediately on board with what Manchester Entrepreneurs was trying to pursue, letting us use their hot desking facilities, event space and existing network to bring people together.
Manchester as a city has also played a huge part in our journey. Since it is smaller than cities like London you really get the chance to connect with people, but at the same time has one of the biggest international student communities in the UK. You really can’t find such a diverse but collaborative city anywhere else.
For more information about Manchester Entrepreneurs visit www.manchesterentrepreneurs.co.uk