This weekend turned me from teacher to start-up

By Marie Goodwyn, co-founder of Bright Stream

Ever done a MBA in two days?

Thanks to Simon Stockley and Hanadi Jabado that’s what I, and a packed Castle Teaching Room, did on Saturday and Sunday.

The lecture room included a host of brand new shiny MBA students, a film crew and two gentlemen from the Government. Oh, and a “scruffy” band of acceleratees.

Over 10 hours of lectures we galloped through an overview of everything we need to know as entrepreneurs. Even Simon’s first lecture took me on a roller coaster of emotion.

Excitement – Yes! I am a first-born child – All is well!

Concern – A woman of my age is usually fighting beard growth- not wanting to encourage it!

Worry – But I like being a girl…

Having dealt with the myths about exact type of person “Entrepreneur Weekly” thinks you have to be to be in with a hope of running a successful start up we moved on.

We moved on through – “Finding and Creating Opportunities”; “Evaluating Opportunities and Business Models”; “The Entrepreneurial Team”; and finally “Raising Capital Finance” – otherwise known as our cue for screaming and running away!

It has been many years since I have taken on so much, mostly, new information in such a short time – 10 hours of lectures in 2 days – as a teacher I have huge respect for Simon Stockley’s stamina – and his ability to deliver what could be pretty dry subject matter with humour, real life, personal examples and infectious enthusiasm, counterpointed with Hanadi’s great insights; specialist pointers for us acceleratees and fond references to her first born Entrepreneurial babies!

On Saturday evening over free beer and pizza the Acceleratees and the MBA students were given the opportunity (AKA: told) to pitch to each other.

The aspect that drew pretty much all of the MBA’s that I talked to to Cambridge was the fact that it has such a strong emphasis on entrepreneurship. So much so that this was as much ‘speed dating’ as pitching – to give them an opportunity to work with “a real life start-up” alongside learning the theory. For us; potential interns (free, highly qualified labour!) They are a hugely international bunch with an amazing breath of experience between them; from green energy, to dispute resolution law.

We were lucky to have Sir Paul Judge, benefactor of Cambridge Judge Business School, come into our afternoon session on Sunday to give us the benefit of a little of his vast experience. I would like to thank him for giving up part of what I think was supposed to be a weekend off and even more for blessing the centre of Cambridge with such an uplifting and good humoured building – it always seems to smile at me when i go past…very…slowly.

Simon, Hanadi and Sir Paul have left me with lots of food for thought and I’d like to share a few of my conclusions.

Wow! We are getting this for free? Payment in blood, sweat and tears not withstanding!

  1. Follow the advice of those with huge amounts of experience. I am a startup not a finish-up.
  2. The best business people have heart, vision and integrity (if you had it before business you can hang on to, and even build , on it).
  3. The team definitely will change! Ours is now a small and perfectly formed two…
  4. I am really excited about this (ad)venture.
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3 Responses

  1. Nick Hatter

    One of the best Accelerate Cambridge blog posts I have met — and I remember each of those experiences very well from Simon’s brilliant lectures! Great job Marie, and best of luck with Bright Stream.

  2. John Harper

    Congrats Marie on getting through boot camp. You guys are doing great so far. Always happy to help you guys along your way to avoid the pitfalls I came across before long as there’s caffeine involved! 🙂

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