Here are the four nominees for the Business Mentor of the Year Category.These individuals are external to the partner universities and have supported a student in their entreprenuerial endevours.
Gavin Eddy - University of Bath
Ex-investment banker, angel investor and founder of workhub provider Forward Space - rang the student enterprise co-ordinator for the University of Bath in April 2006 and offered his help with student enterprise. Since then he has chaired the judging of 4 annual business plan competitions – reading and giving feedback on over 750 ideas. This year alone he read and commented on 193 business ideas and 20 full business plans – giving detailed written feedback on each plan and chairing the judging as the 5 finalists pitched their ideas. His comments to the student businesses have been wise, well-chosen and challenging - and he has invariably turned out to be right. He has also worked with University of Bath enterprise staff to pitch and secure continued funding for the competition from our sponsors Deloitte.
He has generously given his time, email and phone number to countless students, supported networking events, contributed significantly to enterprise education at the University of Bath by delivering workshops and presentations at conferences and BANTER Bath Entrepreneur events. He has also attended award ceremonies and launches, talks and presentations and provided invaluable advice and support. He has helped our students with everything from reading and advising on contracts and some sticky situations involving frozen yogurt to sourcing and even collecting and delivering organic fair trade t-shirt suppliers to our SIFE team. He is not an official 'entrepreneur in residence' – although he contributes significantly more than he would be required to do if he were - but has given his time, energy and wisdom to staff and students alike.
Mark Sage - University of Bristol
For the last 10 years Mark Sage has been working with one of Europe's most recognised and dynamic brands – Orange. He has held various roles in marketing, technical and R&D in both the UK and Group organisations. Mark has always been interested in supporting start up companies and has a history of providing practical advice and moral support. This also included a year in evaluating business cases for possible financial and technical investment whilst working for Fujitsu. As such he has been an invaluable mentor to our student business, and has also volunteered his time to share his wisdom through workshops and our business bootcamp. Students who have attended his sessions have described him as being "an exceptional speaker" and "ready to listen".
He has also gone above and beyond to then provide one to one mentoring with some of our student business, providing useful connections from his extensive network. Combined with the brand power of orange he has proved to be inspirational to many students and often leaving them more curious about entrepreneurship. And to add to Mark's talents he is also fanatic sportsman and family man.
He has proved himself invaluable not only to the University and our enterprise activities but also to the students themselves.
Phil Deem - University of Exeter
Phil Deem is the Business Advisor for Exeter Business Support, which provides start up advice and support to organisations in the Exeter area. Over the past couple of years Phil has been very active in working alongside the Innovation Centre at the University of Exeter in delivering business support and business skills training to students and the University of Exeter.
Phil has played a pivotal role in creating the "Skills for Self Employment" training programme which is open to Exeter Students and contributes to the Exeter Award. It is a series of short lectures and workshops which covers areas such as market research, business planning and financial forecasting. As well as helping to create and develop the programme Phil also delivers about half of the modules and has provided training to over 150 students.
In addition to this Phil also works closely on a one to one basis with a number of the University of Exeter student entrepreneurs to help with creating robust foundations for their organisations and linking them into the local community.
In particular Phil has worked very closely with Becky Woolford, who founded the company Floor2Flawless, providing dance workshops to students at the University & College as well as for corporate events, away days and evening classes. Phil was able to help Becky see how it would be possible to turn her love for dancing and the contacts she has in the industry into a business when she graduates.
Nigel Biggs - University of Surrey
Nigel Biggs is an entrepreneurial role model for both students and staff at Surrey. Having founded two exciting companies in the past – Pixology plc and the Digital Camera Company – he is now founder and CEO of Passionate Innovation, a company that facilitates and inspires people and companies to be innovative.
Nigel's boundless enthusiasm is an inspiration in itself. A powerhouse of energy and ideas, he is the architect of the highly successful annual enterprise summer school which brings together students from University for the Creative Arts and Surrey. A heavily oversubscribed 3 day residential course, Summer School gives students the creative and business tools they need to start or grow a business. On campus, Nigel runs his very popular drop-in business clinics, one to one mentoring sessions, seminars, workshops, business ideas competitions, and just about anything else! He is a key member of the Surrey 100 – a peer group of successful local business men and women that provides the foundation for venture creation. Due in no small part to his influence, members engage with the student community via initiatives like the Summer School.
Nigel's mentoring has been a catalyst for the founding of a number of student and staff businesses. As important though, he has a gift for helping people find the passion inside themselves and to become enterprising in their daily lives.