Entrepreneurship at Edinburgh Business School: from education to incubation
We are very excited to launch the online learning versions of our two MBA Entrepreneurship electives this month.
Laura Galloway, professor of Business & Enterprise
Kallum Russell, Incubator Manager
Laura Jackman, assistant professor of entrepreneurship
Starting with Entrepreneurship and Creativity, students learn what entrepreneurship is, and what it is for, and they will have the opportunity to develop an idea and test its commercial feasibility
Using this same idea, in the optional follow-on course Entrepreneurial Venturing, students do all the work associated with developing their proposal into a full investor-ready business plan. We have been delivering these courses on campus for several years now, and it has been great to develop these into our online learning format so we can offer curriculum-based support for entrepreneurial ambitions to all EBS students. These courses are a key part of the overall entrepreneurial offering at Edinburgh Business School. Alongside them, the EBS Incubator has supported nearly 30 business since it opened in 2018 and has celebrated enormous success in terms of supporting new firms from Heriot-Watt and other univers
ities, as well as the wider community. These successes include some of our own EBS graduates, including Binh Tran Hei Le and Anu Sanya, both of whom studied the on-campus versions of the MBA, and Abdhesh Kumar, who remotely. Their stories are exciting and inspiring and are just the start of their entrepreneurial journeys.
Anu Sanya came from Nigeria to study the on-campus MBA programme in Edinburgh in 2017. She took the electives Entrepreneurship & Creativity and Entrepreneurial Venturing, and through these courses, developed and researched a business idea that has eventually become the firm Our Nuptial Chest. Our Nuptial Chest is a digital service that enables a cash gift registry for couples planning their wedding. Friends and family can gift as much (or little) as they like and couples can put this towards big-ticket items such as a honeymoon.
Upon completing her MBA, Anu applied and was accepted to join the EBS Incubator. With an intended first entry market of couples from Nigeria and the African Caribbean population in the UK, Our Nuptial Chest is trading and going from strength to strength. In fact, since Anu joined the incubator at its inception - as part of the first intake in summer 2018 - Anu has been as critical to the development of our start-up journey as we hope we have been to hers!
In 2018 Binh Tran Hai Le similarly joined the on-campus MBA programme in Edinburgh. Like Anu, she elected to study the Entrepreneurship courses and worked on her idea of developing a restaurant and retail offering of Vietnamese cuisine, handicrafts and bio-plastic products. On completion of the MBA, Binh applied and was accepted to join the EBS Incubator, and her start-up, Taste of Vietnam, was born.
Covid-19 has impacted all of the businesses in the Incubator (requiring adapted support from us, described in a previous blog). No firm has been more affected than Taste of Vietnam though because of its roots in catering and hospitality. Despite this, Binh has adapted, pivoted and prevailed, and Taste of Vietnam is continuing to develop. It will be based in Edinburgh, and alongside its retail and hospitality focus, will be a commitment to sustainable and plastic-free business.
Abdhesh Kumar is one of our many MBA graduates who studied remotely, studying with our West London partner and graduating in 2016. During his studies with Edinbugh Business School he came up with the idea that is now the focus of his start-up, Copper & Carbon. With an education and career background in electrical and electronics engineering, Abdhesh has designed a generator that has the potential to improve the efficiency of existing onshore and offshore wind turbines by a significant margin. He applied to join the EBS incubator last year, via Skype from India, and he was accepted, joining in early 2020. The idea is at inception stage, but has been theoretically validated by international specialists in various research institutes and universities. Despite the effects of Covid-19 in all industries, Abdhesh is currently working on the next stages of proof of concept by exploring methods by which to simulate the technology, conduct market research, and gather resources appropriate for prototyping. In many ways, Abdhesh is an ideal exemplar of the ambitions for Entrepreneurship we have here at EBS to support the wider ENS student community and we are delighted that he pursued business education with us, and we continue to support his ensuing ongoing business ambitions.
All of our three Edinburgh Business School MBA graduates are an asset to our Incubator. Often Incubators – especially in Universities – are assumed to house and support the business ambitions of technologists and engineers. At the EBS Incubator we are proud to do exactly that, but we are also passionate that our offering is inclusive, and we encourage ideas from myriad sources since innovation and entrepreneurship can occur in any industry and subject. This ‘melting pot’ approach has created a diverse community, who are able to enrich the experiences of each-other. In turn, they and the students of the MBA courses have certainly added to the credibility and quality of the education and support we continue to develop in Edinbugh Business School.