2018/19,  Events

Startup Fest

Startup Fest 2018 entices entrepreneurs of the future at Queen’s University Belfast

It’s week 1 of teaching, the infamous ‘Freshers’ Week’ and the perfect opportunity to get students involved in that all-important ‘extracurricular activity’ that employers are so keen to see.

They can sign up to archery, caving, quidditch and  debating.  They can travel the world volunteering and teach English in China.  Skills development is important. 

But one skill that is being more and more sought after is the entrepreneurial graduate, or rather, the ‘intrapreneur’.  The student who can think independently, solve problems and think creatively. 

At Queen’s University, entrepreneurship is intrinsically woven throughout modules and activities and the mission is to deliver graduates who are equipped for the future.

This week, QUB organised an event with a difference.  Startup Fest 2018 was first and foremost a one-day festival with music, performers, food and a giant climbing wall, but it was also about inspiring students to get more involved in entrepreneurial activity.  Many students see entrepreneurship as ‘something for business students’, and the aim was to create an awareness of enterprise as a viable option for all, whether this be to improve their employability skills or indeed to enable a student to start a business. 

All of those involved including the food vendors, musicians, performers and visiting organisations were either entrepreneurs or part of the entrepreneurial support eco system in Northern Ireland.  They were briefed prior to the event to ensure that they engaged with students and inspired them with their entrepreneurial story.

There were food vendors, a giant climbing wall, student performers and a music stage with young musicians from local charity the ‘Oh Yeah Centre’.   Other areas included the ‘Gallery of First Attempts’ (prototypes), a ‘Test Your Entrepreneurial Mindset’ corner, a ‘Quirky Market’ with student entrepreneurs selling their creations, and a ‘Pitching Corner’ run by Catalyst Inc. (the local Science Park).

A yellow dinosaur visited the festival, and local enterprise support organisations also showed their support and were present to advise students including Princes Trust and Young Enterprise.

The Santander Funded ‘Enterprise Pod’ was launched at the festival  and housed visiting ‘experts’ who provided specialist advice to students throughout the day on all things start-up.

The Enterprise Pod will travel throughout Queen’s University in the upcoming semesters, bringing entrepreneurial inspiration to students in their faculties and schools.

A total of 2,559 students visited Startup Fest, and 790 undergrad and postgrad students signed up to get involved in further activity.

Earlier this year, (previous to Startup Fest) Queen’s University utilised the Santander Enterprise & Entrepreneurship Project Fund to run a student accelerator, and to facilitate a trip to Silicon Valley for students.

‘Startup Fest 2018 has been a great opportunity to engage with and inspire students from a whole range of disciplines and backgrounds. We look forward to working with many new students in the upcoming year at Queen’s University Belfast’

Kat Maguire, Enterprise Development Officer, Enterprise SU – QUB Students’ Union

‘The StartUp Fest was a fantastic showcase of activity with students invited to explore the entrepreneurial support that they have at their fingertips across Queen’s University Belfast and throughout Northern Ireland. We had passionate local start-ups, entrepreneurial experts and Queen’s Enterprise staff on hand to share and inspire students to take action and consider bringing their ventures to life. We look forward to supporting all those who engaged with us on the day and growing this community of Queen’s entrepreneurs.’

Joanne Graham, Postgraduate Employability & Enterprise Manager, The Graduate School

All photographs taken by Aurora Photography: https://aurorapa.com/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *