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The Highs and Lows of Starting Up

Last week, as part of the University of Brighton’s #BrightonWorksWeek, the beepurple (Student Enterprise) team hosted an inspiring panel event entitled, ‘The Highs and Lows of Starting Up’.

It was exciting to hear from four graduates of the University of Brighton, all of whom have pursued entrepreneurial careers since completing their studies.

All four speakers talked candidly about their entrepreneurial journeys, reflecting on the lessons they have learnt since starting up, along with their greatest achievements to date.

Our first speaker, Kerry Watkins, Founder and Managing Director of Social Brighton, reflected on her experience growing Social Brighton, since starting up six years ago. The audience, made up of students and recent graduates, was encouraged to hear that one of Kerry’s achievements was her first hire – a graduate she had met whilst he was on placement with her! 

Kerry stressed the importance of finding your purpose and knowing how to reflect this in your business activity – in her case, focussing on creating positive social change via social media. Kerry advised our aspiring entrepreneurs to get their systems in place right from the outset; to work smarter (and not longer!); and to price their work on the value they can give (rather than on the time they spend producing that work). 

Our second speaker was Liam Murphy, one of our talented Product Design graduates who is the Co-Founder of Stix, and is in the process of commercialising his product idea and app for young people with ADHD. Liam recommended that the audience should not hesitate in applying for business and financial support. This year, Liam has been successful in receiving an Enterprise Growth Grant from Santander Universities, as well as a grant from Innovate UK. He also advised the start-ups in the audience to celebrate every victory – to appreciate all that has gone well during their journey into self-employment.

Our third speaker was Shuvechchha (Subu) Ghimire. Subu has achieved a lot in a short space of time with her chatbot solution, UNITEC. Having won our Santander University of Brighton Ideas Competition in December 2019, Subu went on to represent the University of Brighton in this year’s Santander Emerging Entrepreneurs Programme, reaching the Semi-Final! Subu reflected on the progress she has made since starting up, and advised our student entrepreneurs to create a product/service that serves a purpose; to seek support from advisors and mentors; to know what leadership style suits them best; to delegate tasks whenever they can; and to play an infinite game – success doesn’t happen overnight.

Our final speaker was John Griffin, Co-Founder of Pack. Pulling on his experience of running his own businesses since 2004, John advised the audience to find and build a niche. He encouraged the audience to trust themselves, and if they realise things aren’t working in their business, they should adapt. John also reflected on the benefits of working with others, and advised our student entrepreneurs to ‘share the load’ – either by starting up with a co-founder, accessing peer support or by finding a mentor. John also rallied the audience to push themselves and never sit still.

The four panellists were brimming with valuable start-up advice for our student entrepreneurs, and it has been a struggle to squeeze in all their practical tips here! 

I would like to thank all four speakers who shared such honest, down-to-earth and inspiring entrepreneurial advice. Thank you!!!

If you would like to access our beepurple entrepreneurship support service, and receive 1-2-1 entrepreneurship advice, or attend our next workshop, please get in touch with the beepurple team at

Clare Griffiths • 09/11/2020

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