Over 150 businesses gathered at the University of Lincoln’s new £11 million Joseph Banks Laboratories on April 16 for the Doing it Differently conference, just two days after its official opening.
Entrepreneurs were inspired as key speaker Rob Law, Creator and CEO of Trunki explained the trials of his labour to be the most successful Dragons Den reject yet.
Delegates were greeted by Mary Stuart, Vice Chancellor of the University of Lincoln as she announced that, together with the Greater Lincolnshire LEP, they will be creating a new Innovation Board for local businesses to join and share their experiences.
By bringing businesses together, the Innovation Board will be able to tap into technology and skills available in the county. Ursula Lidbetter, Chairman for the Greater Lincolnshire LEP said: “The LEP is setting up an innovation board and we want lots of businesses to get involved in that, whatever state of development their at.”
A panel of four experts advised budding entrepreneurs to find an alternative route to success. Ursula said: “You have to believe in yourself. It will be your determination that sees it through.”
Andrew Stevenson, Director of Research & Enterprise at the University of Lincoln, said that the way to succeed was to keep taking a step back to think about strategy and the direction the business is going.
There was a consensus between the panel members that it was hard to find good people with the skill set required in the county, but it was important to use the university as a source for fresh talent.
Key speaker Rob Law said: “The biggest challenge for me was learning how to meet people, so I hope that people have left knowing how to rally the troops and succeed in business. All too often, innovation happens behind closed doors. You have to interact with your target end users, show prototypes, show different ideas and be open to other people’s thoughts.”
Andrew Stevenson, Director of Research and Enterprise at the University of Lincoln added: “I am hoping that people have been challenging the way that they have been thinking and doing things and that they have gone away enthusiastic, determined to do something new and different.
“Today hasn’t been about telling them what to do, it has been about empowering them and encouraging them in a different way.”