In March I received an email from my old University (The University of York) out of the blue asking if I would be willing to accept a nomination for the Duke of York Young Entrepreneur Award. I was really surprised to be chosen, especially as I was now a graduate!
The ceremony itself was in Huddersfield and was really exciting: His Royal Highness took an incredible interest in the businesses of all the winners and it was great to hear what others were up to.
Since I was in the Yorkshire area, I took the opportunity to visit my old University and meet with some of the Entrepreneurs currently working with the Enterprise Department which was great fun.
Following on from my work in Sudan last year, yesterday I was given the opportunity to hold a workshop for the three winners of the Mashrouy programme; Houida, Abrar and Maha.
The three were over as part of the 2-week long trip that winners of the Mashrouy programme receive, which as well as a tour of the UK, includes workshops on business practice.
Once again I was struck by the innovativeness of the businesses and how different they were to those in England. The businesses are, from left to right: production of an organic tick-repellant to reduce illness in cattle from local natural resources; software for analysing mammograms with lower cost and higher accuracy; and a substance for tanning leather extracted naturally from tree bark, reducing use of imported chrome and the environmental impact of chrome.
Speaking about any aspect of business when the markets are so different is tough. I was asked to speak about tracking business progress using KPIs and OKRs (a topic we went into great detail on during Techstars) and then on how to utilise mentors. All candidates in Mashrouy work with mentors, but getting the most out of a mentor is a process that requires some planning. We discussed how to write short, punctual emails with clear and concise points and ‘asks’, and the best way to ask for an introduction to somebody that your mentor knows (with the help of a post by Russell Buckley).