Absoft Entrepreneurship Lecture inspires young entrepreneurs

Students with an entrepreneurial flair require encouragement and inspiration to take their enterprising ideas forward, if they are to fulfil their potential and form a vital part of Scotland’s continued economic development.

For two students at Robert Gordon University (RGU) the opportunity to listen to the executive chairman of one of Scotland’s most successful global energy businesses has given them renewed drive to achieve their entrepreneurial ambitions.

Grant Anderson, who studies visual communication at RGU’s Gray’s School of Art, and marketing management student Dawid Jaskiewicz, heard from Roy MacGregor OBE, founder of Global Energy Group at the 2013 Absoft Entrepreneurship Lecture among a packed audience at RGU’s Aberdeen Business School.

The budding entrepreneurs, who have each reached the national heat of the Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE) New Business Ideas Competition, are now even more determined to succeed.

Grant, 22, in the final year of his degree, wants to open a sustainable lifestyle shop where people can dispose of unwanted materials such as clothes and furniture which would then be recycled and transformed into new items for sale in his retail outlet.

He said the lecture, now in its 18th year and sponsored by independent SAP software consultancy Absoft, has encouraged him to expand his skills as a designer to include business management, and has increased his understanding of the entrepreneurial world.

“As design students, we learn about professional conduct but don’t really get the opportunity to study business practice, so the lecture has helped to shape my understanding of what a business needs to succeed,” says Grant.

First year marketing management student Dawid, 19, who has relocated from Poland to study in Aberdeen, was reassured that the focus of Mr MacGregor’s presentation on the importance of team working and soft skills such as communication matched the theory behind his business idea to open a student graffiti studio.

“My idea is based on developing interpersonal skills by creating an environment where students can work together to produce pieces of graffiti art work so I could really relate that to Roy’s presentation,” says Dawid.

“The round-table discussion gave me a chance to question Roy and Absoft’s managing director, Ian Mechie, in a one-to-one environment which is a rare opportunity. Listening to their expertise was extremely motivational and supplemented the academic theory, enhancing my understanding of what it will take to reach my ambitions.”

Mr Mechie, who shared his company’s ambitious growth plans with the students as part of the lecture and attended the round-table discussion, says: “As an entrepreneur myself, I realise the commitment and ambition it takes to make a success of an enterprising idea and it is great to hear that the lecture continues to inspire the students, many of whom will have their own business proposals.

“The students of today will become the next generation of business leaders, driving the economy forward so it is important that they get the opportunity to hear from industry as part of their academic learning. This is one of the reasons Absoft has sponsored the Entrepreneurship Lecture for more than 10 years.”