Lightbulb: the innovation challenge

We’re incredibly excited to announce our flagship innovation challenge: Lightbulb.

If you’re a student at the University of Aberdeen, you are invited to participate in this 3-day competition, where you’ll innovate in pairs to develop solutions to local and global challenges.
Every discipline is relevant and anyone can make a difference. You provide the ideas, we provide instant support, free food and cash prizes.

It will take place in the Old Senate Room (King’s College campus between the 29th and the 31st of March. There is no pre-registration required, but there’ll shortly be Facebook and Eventbrite
event pages so you can RVSP.

There’s a pool of £850 cash prizes (and many other non-cash prizes) and plenty of fun guaranteed.

More information, including competition rules, promotional material and RVSP sites (Facebook and Eventbrite) coming shortly. Watch this space.


What’s Your ABVenture? // 4) Margaret Brinkley, Around Town

What’s Your ABVenture? is our new series of podcasts in which we interview some of the most exciting start-ups in Aberdeen and discuss all things enterprise.

The fourth episode features Margaret Brinkley, the co-founder of Around Town (formerly known as MyTime) – a mobile app that synchronises, in a single space, students’ academic and social calendars. It will show a calendar of events tailored to each user’s interests, and the app will partner with universities as well as local businesses to create a truly comprehensive, but accessible and user-friendly time management system.

Keep up with Around Town on Twitter, they have some exciting developments in store.
They recently got through to the AccelerateHER competition semi-final, along with Greyhope Bay and RelocateGuru. That’s three ABVenture Zone occupants taking the AccelerateHER competition by storm – we wish them the best of luck!

Margaret talks about the beginnings of her business, finding her ‘scene’ and favourite spots in Aberdeen, entering competitions, and how her upbringing in rural Maryland shaped her entrepreneurial story.

“Enterprise is definitely a full-time job and not something that you can do half-heartedly, but if you believe that strongly in something, it doesn’t matter how hard it is. You do what you have to do in order to get where you want to be.

Figure out what your market is and why your product is unique – what makes it better than others. Find the resources around you, look up incubator spaces, look up competitions. Take advantage of the resources at your disposal; there’s a lot more out there than you may think.”

Get to know Margaret and Around Town by listening to this week’s podcast:


Events, events!

We at ABVenture Zone believe that networking lies at the heart of a successful, growing business. It enables you to exchange ideas, gain insights and new perspectives and establish a web support. While the business world is highly competitive, there’s loads and loads of support, mentoring and advice available – especially if you’re a student entrepreneur.

We have a few events in store for you in February and we really recommend you check them out:

15th February, 14:00 // Marcus Thompson from the Aberdeen University Business School will be running a seminar on venture marketing here in ABVenture Zone, on the 8th floor of the Macrobert Building. The seminar is open to everyone and may be particularly useful for those who are at the branding stage and want to reach out to more customers. The focus of the seminar will be on how to put together a marketing strategy and marketing plan for your business.

22nd February, 14:00 // Anne Fraser, Royal Society of Edinburgh’s (RSE) Awards Manager, will host an information briefing on the RSE Enterprise Fellowship, for which applications are now open. It will also take place in ABVenture Zone and complimentary refreshments will be provided.
This session will explain the background and success of the Enterprise Fellowship Programme, outline the entrepreneurial support provided and provide information on the application process.

(Learn more about the RSE Enterprise Fellowship HERE and book your free ticket for this event HERE)

22nd February, 17:30 // If you want to see what the connection between penguins, hospitals & sausages could be, this MBA Connect seminar could be perfect for you. It will be all about business model innovation and a fantastic opportunity to learn about developing a successful business model in varying contexts. It’ll take place at the Sir Duncan Rice Library and complimentary refreshments will be provided. The seminar will enable you to be part of an ‘interactive safari’ and thought experiment, and will be a great evening to network, share experiences, and hear from an industry expert – Steve Harrison from Scottish Enterprise.
Book your spot HERE (it’s free!)

In March, we’ll have even more events for you, including a Converge Challenge applications drop-in, more MBA Connect seminars, and our flagship enterprise competitions which we absolutely can’t wait to announce. Watch this space, you’ll hear more from us soon!

What’s Your ABVenture? // 3) Dr Alabi Rotimi, RAB Microfluidics

What’s Your ABVenture? is our new series of podcasts in which we interview some of the most exciting start-ups in Aberdeen and discuss all things enterprise.

The third episode features Dr Alabi Rotimi, who recently got a PhD in Geology at the University of Aberdeen, where he explored the innovation potential of microfluidics in the oil & gas industry. His innovative enterprise “permits the point of need measurement” by creating micro-scale mobile labs for chemical analysis. Alibi is literally developing an entire lab on a tiny glass chip.

Find out more about his business by visiting RAB’s website.

Alabi talks about the beginnings of his business, the importance of surrounding yourself with the right network, seeking advice from the multitude of organisations such as ABVenture Zone or Elevator, and his success in the Scottish EDGE competition.
He even plays us his favourite track (it’s a song by Eminem) and talks about his usual after-work activities.

“It is crucial for a start-up with no funds to apply for some of these competitions; it’s a great way for making inroads. Some of these competitions come with the added package of business support, so you have access to brilliant minds in the industry.”

Get to know Alabi and RAB Microfluidics by listening to this week’s podcast:


The smart way to map out your business model

The business model canvas — as opposed to the traditional, intricate business plan — helps budding businesses and established organisations alike. It allows you to conduct structured, tangible, and strategic conversations around new businesses or existing ones. Leading global companies like GE, Nestlé or Lego use the canvas to manage strategy or create new growth engines, while start-ups use it in their search for the right business model.

In fact, some insiders point out to the canvas as the key to Lego’s great turnaround story. Facing bankruptcy a few years ago, the company had to reinvent themselves and re-position their brand. The canvas allowed them to smartly map out the key challenges and helped come up with direct solutions, such as streamlining the manufacturing process and adapting the kits to the modern times.

The canvas’s main objective is to help companies move beyond product-centric thinking and towards business model thinking.
It is also increasingly popular in competitions, such as the upcoming 2017 Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards. (Keep an eye out on this blog to find out more soon!)

In summary, the canvas is incredibly useful because it lets you look at all nine building blocks of your business on one page. Here’s a sleek little video explaining it in more detail:


Push yourself to the limits at the Elevator Challenge

Hello again!

Our friends over at Elevator have just launched the applications for this year’s Elevator Challenge, which will take place between the 16th and the 18th of June. This weekend residential will test your team building and leadership skills and developed through participation in physical and mental activities. You’ll be tasked with problem-solving and idea development – using your communication skills and initiative to motivate yourself and team members through demanding and unfamiliar situations.
The aim is to get out of your comfort zone – as you often will be in business.

Setting up and developing a start-up often involves hurdles which you’ve never jumped before. It is, in a way, a leap into the unknown and comfort-zone-stretching can certainly help you build confidence and resilience.

What’s more, this residential is completely FREE to participate in. It is funded entirely by Elevator, including transport from Aberdeen to the outdoor centre in Aberfoyle, Trossachs.

Are you ready for a weekend of raft-building, abseiling, orienteering and pushing your boundaries in a friendly, supportive environment of like-minded individuals? Are you looking forward to the extensive programme of pitching workshops and mentoring sessions to develop your business skills and ideas?
If so, don’t delay and give the Elevator Challenge a go. Apply HERE now.