Westminster Kingsway College played host to an impressive programme of speakers as part of a lively Enterprise Festival on Wednesday.
Held to coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), the event included talks by Mike Southon, author of bestselling book The Beermat Entrepreneur, and Zoe Jackson, who founded the flash-mob dance company Living the Dream.
Mr Southon, who achieved huge success working with 17 start-up companies in the 90s, told the students: “You don’t need to have any money, you just need to have a passion for something... Whatever you are passionate about, there is money to be made at it."
Also addressing the college’s packed auditorium were representatives from Lipton Ice Tea and Metro Bank.
Irene Brew-Riverson, who works closely with the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy to deliver a rigorous programme of specialist enterprise courses at the college, said: “Events like this give our students a terrific opportunity to hone and showcase their planning, leadership and communication skills, because they are so involved in the organisation process. They are also able to learn from speakers and people from industry that they would not necessarily have the opportunity to meet in their everyday lives."
This year’s GEW campaign began on November 17th and runs until the 23rd, with more than 140 countries taking part worldwide. The initiative aims to “inspire and empower” future entrepreneurs – a goal shared by the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy and its parent charity, the Peter Jones Foundation, which was established by star of Dragons’ Den Peter Jones CBE.
"Global Entrepreneurship Week provides an outlet for entrepreneurial talent and energy and helps point out how, regardless of background, young people can turn their passions into value-adding activities,” Mrs Brew-Riverson continued.
As well as watching the guest speakers, students put on an impressive fashion show and took part in the VIN2 Business Concept competition, sponsored by Europe Arab Bank. Finalists presented their ideas in a Dragons’ Den format, before the winner, foundation degree student Linda Rippe, was awarded £500 worth of investment.
Andy Wilson, Westminster Kingsway College Principal, said: “An entrepreneurial outlook and the associated skills are becoming essential for those who will succeed in today’s competitive environment. Westminster Kingsway College is providing students with an ever expanding range of opportunities to develop their skills and gain experience of being an entrepreneur. I am very pleased with the overwhelming success of the festival, which showcases these activities and the talented students who will be the entrepreneurs of tomorrow."
Joseph Burridge, a 16-year-old Westminster Kingsway student took some time to explain why he signed up to the Peter Jones Academy: “I started my first business when I was nine and at that age there isn't much support for you. However, now at 16 this college course provides the best opportunities for me to connect with people with similar interests."
Westminster Kingsway College is a large further education college that prioritises entrepreneurial spirit. In addition to providing a wide range of vocational, professional and academic courses, it is one of 24 organisations across the UK currently offering the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy courses.