Entrepreneurship – from ideas to reality
Entrepreneurship – from ideas to reality

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Entrepreneurship – from ideas to reality

2 What’s the big idea?

There are many potential sources of ideas. Some fairly common examples include:

  • spotting an opportunity (e.g. a gap in the market)
  • experiencing a problem and looking for a solution for it (e.g. an invention)
  • being able to do something that others can’t (e.g. using a talent)
  • being prepared to do something others don’t want to or can’t do (e.g. cleaning)
  • having something that others might need or want (e.g. investing in plant or machinery for hire).

You may have a sense of where and how our entrepreneurs in Video 1 came up with their ideas from their short biographies and the nature of their business. However, in the video that follows in Activity 1 they will talk about their ventures and confirm where their ideas came from.

Activity 1 Inspiration for a business

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Watch the video on the four entrepreneurs talking about their ideas and make notes on your initial impressions of each of them. Think about how they represent their idea(s). Did they try something that worked and just run with it, or was it something they could already do? Perhaps they saw an opportunity to apply something in a new area. Or maybe they started developing knowledge and skills that they could later turn into a business. Note your comments in the box below.

Download this video clip.Video player: Video 2
Skip transcript: Video 2 Where did the idea come from?

Transcript: Video 2 Where did the idea come from?

: Some of our colleagues won an award for a business that they'd started based on detecting fungi in potatoes. And we thought, we want to do something really similar to that. We did-- we're PhD students studying chemical biology of health and disease. And so we wanted to tackle something in that area that we thought we could hopefully make a bit of money from, but also really make a change to the world around us.
My wife is an interior designer, or has been a commercial interior designer for quite a long time. She has a huge array of different designs. And she asked me to start to try and sell them for her.
So we put them onto cards. We put the designs onto pictures. We took them to some markets and asked people what they thought of them.
We had a little suggestion box on the end of the table. And lots and lots of people said put these designs onto silk scarves and see how you get on. And that's where the business went for us.
It really came from working with children and young people, my whole career in Essex and directly in schools, and seeing just how many of them were going without effective intervention in place, due to restrictions on budgets and things in the local area. And so I wanted to try and set something up that kind of complemented what was already in place. And mentoring and coaching seemed the place to start. And it seemed to be the way that I could reach the most children and young people and have the impact I was looking for.
: The idea came from my own experience within the field. I've been in aviation for over 14 years now. I was the chief engineer of an airline. And one of my responsibilities was the training of maintenance personnel. I had over 200 personnel.
And one of the main issues was that people were always away on training, and there was a huge manpower, man planning burden. And I couldn't find a provider to actually come up with the needs that I wanted. So the idea that business came from that, to develop the actual need for the industry.
End transcript: Video 2 Where did the idea come from?
Video 2 Where did the idea come from?
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Undoubtedly, as you listen to the accounts you will also be conscious of your own experiences and whether you have something in common with them. While you may or may not share a similar background or interest, you may have had similar experiences, or relate to having skills, a talent or an area of expertise to apply to a problem. Maybe you have been involved in a family or other type of business and so recognise an opportunity. Your idea may be a development of the areas you presently operate within, or you may be able to apply it to a different area. Hopefully you have recognised that there is no one path that is sure to result in an idea or an entrepreneur.

Having listened to others and taken time to reflect on your own ideas, you might have started to see patterns emerging. The idea may solve a problem, perhaps one encountered in your personal or professional life. It might be something our entrepreneurs are well placed to solve as they have the necessary expertise. Or they may have fresh insight as to how to improve on something or access to expertise from elsewhere.

Some ideas go beyond problem solving though. By seeing a possibility that others do not, opportunities can come around in the most surprising ways. Your idea may arise from something you are particularly passionate about – a cause, issue or interest you simply must share – or a particular capability that others seek.


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