After applying through the enterprise team at the University of Sussex, I secured a place on the CommercialiSE programme. Over five workshops led by Dr Tom Harris I learned about the business essentials of marketing, finance and intellectual property protection. Other group members included a mix of Sussex undergraduate students, PHD students and lecturers who all had varied and fascinating business ideas. This helped me decide the next steps for EconoFun and amongst many things taught me how to form the company, protect the idea and learn tips about pitching my idea.
In the summer of 2012 I found out the Innovation Centre at my university was holding a ‘Sussex Startup’ competition in which up to five winning ideas would receive £2000 to develop their ventures further. I applied and got shortlisted to the final six. We all had to pitch our idea to a board of experts and entrepreneurs, we had to explain what we would use the money for and why we needed it. The idea of pitching to experts was scary at first, but once I had started the pitch it became easier. It was a process in which my presentation skills improved. I also got valuable feedback from knowledgable people about my idea.
A month later I was delighted to find out I had won, along with two others. I was also appointed a mentor and had use to office space for six months.
500 University of Sussex students entered this contest in which entrants described in just 50 words an idea for a new product or service. EconoFun was a Runner-up in the ‘Helps family and friends’ category. For the full story see here.
It started as an Extended Project (EPQ) when I had finished my AS levels at the Godolphin and Latymer school. I wanted to create something to do with Economics to strengthen my UCAS applications, but I did not want to do an essay. I thought of something that would be fun to make while I could still reinforce my AS level knowledge. After a brainstorming session I decided I wanted it to be a 3D game different from all others, I decided on three layers all getting smaller, and the aim was to ‘work your way to the top’. Green was the colour I wanted to use as it represented money. This was made out of acrylic and the bottom two layers had hinges to fold in half.