Written by Gregor Mcewan.
Picture this, you are about to enter your final year of university before entering the big bad world and you are still not sure what you want to do. You are determined to try your best hoping to earn that final reward, a good degree.
Then an email lands in your in-box, ‘Let’s start a student-led Enterprise Society!’ The email invites you to a meeting to discuss a new society focused on enterprise, self-improvement, and creativity. More work? A distraction from your coursework? Or a new opportunity?
Hmm… what would you do?
I chose the latter.
I joined a group of students in September 2017 at Edinburgh Napier University‘s Merchiston Campus to decide on the future of the society. Together we came up with ideas for social activities, conference events, and workshops. We drafted an events calendar. We voted in the first committee members (Audrey Barnes, President; Gregor McEwan, Secretary; and Krystof Muller, Treasurer), and the Edinburgh Napier Enterprise Society was born.
Taking on the responsibility of Secretary was daunting. At first anyway. I had to think about how to make the society work and how to make it a worthwhile exercise. I discovered that there were also challenges when managing a society. I quickly realised that you cannot please everyone. It is hard to cater for everyone’s busy schedules or organise events that hold everyone’s interest. I found it important to have defined goals because this helped to ensure that everything fitted the purpose of the society. Another key lesson I learned was that it always takes longer than you think.
Helping to run a society gave me the opportunity to experience new things. I enjoyed planning key events, including the society’s trip to Gravity Trampoline Park and the sales workshop. Both events required me to develop my network, communicate with businesses, professionals, and society members. I learned a great deal and developed new skills along the way. On reflection, I found it a worthwhile and very rewarding experience. It helped me develop my key skills. I also learned about branding, promotion, and leadership skills. I took part in a wide variety of events: sales workshops, business talks, and the NACUE Student Enterprise Conference at Aston University.
The benefits of being part of the society far outweighed the demands and pressure of organising events. It was a fun environment. I met amazing like-minded fellow students and university staff who are very supportive. I would recommend it to everyone.
Audrey Barnes, President, had this to say: “Getting the Enterprise Society up and running was a challenge – but so very worth it. It’s a society that not only gives opportunity to meet fellow entrepreneurial students to socialise and connect with, but also a great platform to reach out to industry. As a result, you have a supportive group of peers to venture out into the world with, growing skills and networks. I’m super proud of the founding team for pulling it all together this past year – and can’t wait to stay in touch with those that take over in the future, seeing how it grows, and develops. The possibilities are practically limitless!”
The society is moving forward with a new committee this next academic year: Michal Idziak, President; and Foteini Geraki, Treasurer.
Michal Idziak, future President, said: “I’m about to start my final year and taking on more responsibility as President of the Enterprise Society will certainly be challenging. University is just a beginning of my business journey and what I can make of it now will pay off later. After finishing my 3rd year placement, my best advice to any student would be to start building your network ASAP. In fact, I can’t wait to meet you.”
Foteini Geraki, future Treasure, said: “Joining the Enterprise Society is the greatest step students could do in order to get into the entrepreneurial world. It is an opportunity to take part in a variety of business events, meet successful entrepreneurs, as well as organise their own projects. I am more than excited to be a part of the committee and looking forward to starting my business journey through the society’s activity!”