I attended the recent Business Gateway Conference at the Dalhousie building at Dundee University. The host was Gavin Oattes who runs #TreeOfKnowledge The three speakers were: Keynote Speaker - World Record Breaking Cyclist Mark Beaumont Kristine Moody of Team Magnus (Family Outdoor Equipment Supplier) Collette Norval Managing Director and Founder of Social Stuff Ltd (Sports Snoods Social Enterprise) Mark Beaumont was the keynote speaker, it was great hearing his story. Brought up in Bridge of Cally (I've been there fishing before) Mark was home schooled until high school time. done his first cycle trip when he was 12 and cycled across Scotland in three days. at 22 he decided to take on an adventure to end all adventures! Fast forward to 2017, How fast can you get around planet earth on two wheels? Mark said He was not interested in breaking records, He was interested in creating massive leaps in performance, also, setting targets that he believes that is possible in getting a team to work furiously, Mark had forty people working on his round planet earth project, which cost a lot of money and three years to plan. Mark continued, He might look like just one guy pedalling his bicycle, but as good as he is at riding a bike – He would never be able to do that if he had not built an enterprise around him and a team that supported it and were absolutely stuck into the detail. Mark’s trip around the world would be 18,000 miles, which he was to do in #80Days, saw him having to cycle 240 miles everyday for two and a half months, 1200hrs in the saddle. Ten years ago -The record for round the world trip was 276 days. Mark got a sheet of paper and worked out he could do 100 miles per day, 18000 miles, 6 months to do. Mark saw the media value in the 80 days round the world trip. The business that Mark and his team could create around the 80 days was massive, that is a one-time prize, like any enterprise – why has no one spotted it? Because everyone else is too busy trying to break the record… The advice Mark offers to people is, whether it is in Sport or Business, know the world you operate in, properly understand what you are doing, do the history and figure out how you do what you do, but don’t make the same mistake everyone else makes, which is basing your targets on what everyone else has done, on history. So many times when Mark has been working with business or athletes, they say as long as they have done a bit better than last year that’s success, or, as long as I do a bit better than next best that’s success. That’s not success on your terms, success on your terms is properly understanding yourself and your team, and sitting down with a blank sheet of paper and asking – what are we capable of? And hopefully if you do that properly you do create a The race to the finish was pretty exciting. The disbelief in the press when he started, what is going to go wrong, this is crazy, he will never do round the world in 80 days… it is so ambitious. About half way through, there was a change in feelings, and people thought he could actually do it. 5 months after doing the 80day round the world trip, Mark says the risk sounds inevitable, and people thought it was bound to happen someday. Mark continues – The reality is when you are involved in any enterprise, any ambition, pushing anything you are passionate about, it does not feel like that when your doing it. It feels uncertain, it feels scary, it is only from the privilege of having done stuff, you can look back and say, well, off-course it was going to work out, off-course it was going to happen, The reality is – its far more likely stuff doesn’t happen than it does happen. The only difference between stuff happening and not happening, is your passion, your commitment to it, your ability to get people to buy into your big ideas. Yes – pulling in your education, your experience and skillsets, but ultimately, its about your attitude and the team you can put around you. Mark closes his talk through encouraging words, A simple idea, as a 12-year-old boy, he wanted to cycle from lands end to john o groats, he actually cycled across Scotland as a starting point and it grew and grew and grew. Mark never had a plan to this week to become a career, or a plan to become the fastest guy to go around the world twice. For Mark it was all about having that passion, loving the process, loving working with people, and realising how you can monetize this, you can make money or a living out of anything if you throw enough energy into it. You go back to that point about whether you work for a company or organisation or you start your own company, that sort of feeling inside you that you are still in control of what you do is ultimately at the source of your happiness, figuring out how it is all done. Mark stated that after his record breaking trip – The new world record at this time, is 78 days 14hrs and 40 minutes. All in All – It is about believing in what you think is possible, getting a team around you and who will work pretty furiously to make it happen. Next Speaker was Kristine Moody of Team Magnus Kristine graduated at Edinburgh University, she got a degree in Medieval History, before joining the Financial Times Group as a Graduate Trainee, then moved on to CNBC Live Stock Market commentary, and staying in Financial Journalism – She held editorial-ships for Scandinavian Business and current affairs magazines in Oslo. Kristine moved back to Scotland in 2010 with her family, she decided the outdoor goods sector in the UK did not offer the choice Scandinavian parents are accustomed to! Kristine talked about encouragement of her products. Great feedback, which helped her continue going forwards. Her business grew and slumped, and she was up and down at times. She says it was an experience, and a learning curve, adjusting between the ups and downs the business saw, although looking back – all the headaches she had in organising and running her business has been a blessing in disguise and is much better prepared nowadays. Kristine talked on her product development and listening, she had a bunch of kids tell her what she should do, she developed a slip and slide, the kids said she needed a crash barrier at the end. You connect the garden hose and it sprays water onto the slide, the kids slide down it. Starting your business – you need to find enjoyment in it, the planning organising and running of it! Last speaker was Collette Norval is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Social Stuff Ltd. Based in Aberdeen, Collette runs a sports manufacturer of snoods for different sports supporters and outdoors enthusiasts, with its aim of giving 100% of profits going to charities and good causes. Since launching in 2016 her social enterprise has produced Squads products for Scottish Premiership teams including Dundee United, Aberdeen, and Celtic, along with the Scottish Football Association, Scottish Rugby, Edinburgh Rugby, Glasgow Warriors, as well as for brands and charities like Brewdog and Kiltwalk. Collette started off her talk, explaining why she got her title of Managing Director saying she got the role purely by accident, Collette was a person who always put her hand up when people asked if they wanted to get involved in something, and that it was not difficult although you need to work hard. The Seven Steps to Social Entrepreneurship School – Collette got involved in a Public speaking and debating purely because she had an opinion on everything, Her English Teacher noticed this and got her involved in a Public Speaking/Debating Club, from that she became Head Girl. Collette went on and done well with her exams, got good recognition from her school peers, Just before Collette went to Uni, The School received an email from Sir Tom Hunter who wanted to run a first ever leadership programme, looking for eight youths from all different walks of life across Scotland, and asked if Collette would be interested, Collette admits she had no idea at that time who Sir Tom Hunter was! Scotland’s first home grown billionaire. Collette continued that she was offered this once in a lifetime opportunity, and to travel the world for nine months, go on private jets etc, and work abroad. It was all fully-funded by Sir Tom Hunter, who was trying to prove a point that you can pick potentially talented people from any walk of life, give them amazing opportunities, push them, motivate them, and show that anyone can go on and do what he did. Essentially, it goes to say that Scotland is our home and the world is our stage, we are a small country but punch way above our weight in Business and Entrepreneurialism, and this is what the inspiration was through the youth programme. In year three at St Andrews university, Collette had thoughts about getting some kind of work experience/Internship, and by accident she stumbled into a lecture for the Saltire Foundation, They offer last year students at Scottish Universities the opportunity to do an international placement, In which Collette managed to get an Internship with The Wood Group in Aberdeen, Being an all-rounder – It was an ideal internship, She was able to learn different areas in the workplace including Marketing, Communication, HR and Business Development. Having done well in her Internship, The Wood Group HR called and said they had received great reviews and thought she would be ideal for the company, however, they did not know where to place Collette. The Wood Group had a partner Social Enterprise called Glencraft, And Collette got a secondment to go and help run that, having big responsibilities and doing various functions in her role, she loved it, doing so well - Collette went back to the big corporate world, but then with a downturn in the Oil and Gas Industry, People were getting made redundant, including her, She was gutted and took it personally. A stroke of luck came along in that within an hour of that news, someone was on the phone telling her not to panic, and that they had an idea, the person was the Chairman of Glencraft and Chief Officer at The wood Group, and had got great feedback about Collette and her work ethics, He saw something in Collette to ask if she would be interested in launching and running a new Social Enterprise Project. At the time Collette said she was 25 years old and had never run a business in her life, and having this guy come to her and ask her to run a business for him, she was stunned, she said had no background in textiles or accounts, and no experience in starting a business, but because she proved herself by always putting her hand up and saying “I’ll do it”, The guy saw something to offer her that opportunity. Collette finished off her talk by offering this advice to final year pupils at school, and college and University Students, some of the rollercoaster ride she has been on has been with some luck, some being in the right place at the right time, and always being willing to put your hand up!