Dr Spinder Dhaliwal, Reader in Entrepreneurship and Director of Postgraduate Programmes for Westminster Business School writes about her new book
Having taken hundreds of students – undergraduate, postgraduate, MBA and executive – through entrepreneurship programmes as an academic, I have been consistently impressed with their energy, passion and drive. They and their creative business ideas inspired me to write The Millennial Millionaire: How Young Entrepreneurs Turn Dreams into Business (Palgrave).
Creativity and enthusiasm worldwide
I have been fortunate enough to travel the world delivering courses in entrepreneurship to MBA students in Barbados, Mauritius, Athens, Hong Kong Singapore and China. Each cohort of students was different. I worked with students from diverse cultures, with different teaching and learning styles, varying aspirations and uncertain job prospects. However, wherever they were, and whatever their backgrounds, their levels of creativity and enthusiasm were impressively high. It has been a real privilege to see them blossom when given the opportunity to come up with a business idea and to pitch it to an audience in a safe environment.
Many have gone on to run successful businesses, others have joined family firms and added their new-found skills and knowledge to take them forward. Still others have opted for corporate life and are helping established enterprises. And some still hanker after their dreams.
Make it big by turning your dreams into business
Young people – perhaps more than ever before – want to make it big, and my book is clearly and unashamedly aimed at them. I interviewed ten young entrepreneurs, having found them through organisations including the Prince’s Trust, Shell LIVEwire, and the University of Westminster. It was fun getting to know the entrepreneurs and discovering their stories. I really wanted to capture their youth, energy and confidence in my interviews.
I realised there was so much depth to the stories, particularly around how my interviewees had come up with the ideas for their businesses and how they had struggled with the start-up process. Yes, they faced financial challenges, but they were also battling with their own growth in terms of confidence, knowledge, dealing with people, handling the media, all while still trying to enjoy life. Their businesses vary from the traditional – such as furniture restoration and shoemaking and selling – to high tech apps and clever, quirky products like Bump Mark: a sophisticated gel designed to be used on food packaging,which goes bumpy when food is out of date.
Most of my interviewees were UK based but one was in Barbados, and it was fascinating to see entrepreneurship through this lens. His aspirations were every bit as high as my UK-based interviewees, but his their starting point was different. I learnt so much from them all.
My book is timely, in that Westminster Business School has a fantastic new BA Entrepreneurship degree this year and next year we are aiming to run an MSc in Entrepreneurship. The MBA too has a significant entrepreneurial dimension to it, as has the wider employability remit of the University. I am surrounded by ambitious millennials and this book is for them.
Working with young, fledgling entrepreneurs with so much potential, enthusiasm and energy directed into creative, innovative ideas is inspirational. If I can motivate more young entrepreneurs with this book, and our courses, then my work is done!
Top tips for turning your dreams into business
• Believe in yourself
• Minimise your debts
• Get professional support and a good mentor
• Promote yourself at every opportunity and be pitch perfect
• Surround yourself with champions
• Stay alert to opportunities
• Enter competitions and go for awards and funding
by Dr Spinder Dhaliwal.
Find out more
Buy The Millennial Millionaire: How Young Entrepreneurs Turn Dreams into Business (Palgrave). With a foreword from Apprentice star Margaret Mountford and the founder of Cobra Beer, Lord Karan Bilimoria, the book is aimed at university students or young professionals looking to start a business.