Earlier this month Ella Woodward and Sir Charles Dunstone spoke at the Leeds event for Entrepreneurs Exchange. The event sponsored by UKTI’s Exporting is Great and HSBC bank saw many events across UK cities held concurrently.
Ella Woodward is the heir of one of the daughters of the Sainsbury’s family. Her father is the former MP and cabinet member Shaun Woodward. Ella attended St Andrews University in Scotland but following graduation fell seriously ill gaining significant weight. Bed bound Ella started to develop gluten free healthy eating recipes and publishing to a blog. Ella now has 25,000 followers on Twitter and 6 members of staff. Deliciously Ella not only publishes the online healthy eating food blog but also some best selling books. Not bad for a 23 year old entrepreneur. Her advice is to be yourself, be enthusiastic and creative.
Following on from Ella was Sir Charles Dunstone. The billionaire mobile telecoms tycoon is not just the founder of the Car Phone Warehouse but also TalkTalk the telephony, TV and broadband provider. Sir Charles stated to be an entrepreneur you have to be a little thick. He went on to state he had just employed an executive who was Oxford educated completing a degree in Politics, Economics and Philosophy. This particular chap is so intelligent he often analyses data and makes one decision only to reverse the decision by analysing another set of data.
Sir Charles explained how his approach was to have a clear vision of where you are heading and stick to the course. You will get obstacles and barriers in the way but all you need to do is to find ways to go over them or round them. That’s why it pays to be a little thick as a entrepreneur otherwise you would never get started. Not bad from a person who is one of the world’s top 1000 richest people and a member of the Chipping Norton set.
Finally, Sir Charles talked about the importance of looking at your product and service from the customer’s point of view. Talk to your customers and listen to what they have to say so you can incrementally improve your business. Always look to simplify your business because as you grow things become more complicated. Without your customers you don’t have a business!
Sherry Coutu has pulled off another excellent year for Silicon Valley Comes to the UK. I was lucky enough to attend the Houses of Parliament and listen to thought leaders from around the globe on what they see as the future of education.
There were some great speakers including Diane Tavenner (Summit Schools), John Katzman (Noodle Education), Mike Keller (Stanford Library), Ben Nelson (Minerva Project), Louise Rogers (Times Educational Supplement), Eben Upton (Raspberry Pi) and Conrad Wolfram (Mathematica).
I found Diane of Summit Schools particularly interesting. Summit Schools in California are re-imagining the classroom.
Here are just a few of the things they are doing:
- Classrooms without walls
- Whiteboards on the back of chairs
- Weekly 1 to 1 student mentoring which are student led
- 8 weeks of study away from school in the community and in business
- Teachers are conducting high value coaching in classrooms and students are watching videos at home (the flipped classroom approach)
- Student’s have individualised learning plans
Mathematica explained the importance of teaching Maths through coding. Conrad explained that coding is to Maths what composing is to English.
Webanywhere are running some computer coding workshops for free in collaboration with Bradford University. You can visit our Codeanywhere site to learn more.
In addition, you can learn more about Silicon Valley Comes to the UK at the SVC2UK website.
As an ex-pupil of Holy Family School in Keighley, I was delighted to be invited back to speak at their Enterprise Day today.
A group of Year 9 pupils were given an “Apprentice” style challenge to identify a business opportunity within the school and come up with a proposal to address it.
I was really impressed with the creativity and business acumen displayed by the 18 teams involved, and their confidence in presenting their ideas to a panel of their teachers.
Once the staff had scored each group out of 10 (Strictly Come Dancing style), a clear winner emerged – team “8 Minds” with their proposal for a swipe-card payment system to replace cash throughout school.
I’m sure that among those students there will be a few future business leaders, project managers and entrepreneurs – who might one day give me a run for my money!
I was joined by one of our media team on the day to film the occasion, so I’ll share the finished videos with you soon.
I’ve been in Dubai since Sunday, as Webanywhere are attending the Gulf Educational Supplies & Solutions exhibition (GESS). The show has attracted visitors and exhibitors from across the Middle East, as well as Europe, America and East Asia. Our stand has attracted plenty of attention – with a lot of interest in our Learner Journey e-portfolio solution, as well as our VLE and website offerings.
The impression I get is that online learning is rapidly rising to prominence in the Middle East, and there’s certainly been a lot of interest in today’s keynotes from John Davies at Intel, and Dr. Al Awar from the Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University.
Most of all though, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to speak to delegates and fellow exhibitors on the stand – pictured is my meeting with Dr. Bader Aloliwi, CEO of ATAA Educational Company. The next few days will hopefully bring more valuable conversations, and the chance to compare notes with local educators on their vision of educational technology and where it’s heading.
If you happen to be at GESS this week, come and say hello – we’re on stand R24. If not, you can find out a bit more about what’s going on via the GESS website at http://www.gesseducation.com – and maybe we’ll see you here next year.
My colleagues in Workplace Learning and I kicked off proceedings this morning at Learning Technologies, with a rush of visitors to our stand (122 – come and visit us tomorrow if you get the chance, it’s well worth a visit!). As well as getting a chance to talk face-to-face with workplace learning professionals, and promoting new offerings (such as the Compliance Module for Moodle, and a groundbreaking social video platform for training) we are also hosting our partner The British Safety Council on the stand, as they promote their great range of health and safety e-learning courses.
A big highlight at the show tomorrow is the joint Webanywhere-Google seminar – Stretch your organisation further with Google Apps for Enterprise – not to be missed.
Tomorrow also sees the first day of BETT 2013, the world’s largest technology in education show. The Webanywhere presence at the show will be our largest to date – here’s just some of the reasons to drop by our stand:
- Free Mathsanywhere account for primary schools who visit the Webanywhere stand
- 5% discount for BETT visitors on the Webanywhere product range. Simply visit the stand and get the promo code(s)
- Launch of the new look Learner Journey e-portfolio and safe social network for schools, with enhanced functionality, improved user interface and a range of new themes
- Demonstrating the great new Learnanywhere mobile app, which allows the primary specific VLE to be accessed on the go
- A joint promotion with Planet Sherston (stand F310) – take a product demo at both stands and claim a sticker. Attach both stickers to flyer to get a promo code for a fantastic special offer
…as well as the chance to talk to our e-learning consultants, who I can proudly say are the best in the business.