Alumnus Nigel Hirst, who graduated with an MA, Chemical Engineering from the Department in 1978, came back 20 years after his last visit to give a talk entitled "The Chemical Engineer as Entrepreneur".
Hirst, a serial entrepreneur himself, now Managing Director at Engineering Consultancy Haden Freeman Ltd, told about his experience working for different companies and dealing with venture capitalists; also discussing the importance of the human factor to forging important relationships when doing business.
He also highlighted a few 'rules' of entrepreneurship or guidelines to consider to help you succeed in the field:
- Be honest and fair and stick to a good idea with a vision for a scalable business
- Believe in your idea if you want others to believe in it!
- Be results-orientated by focusing on how to get to the end-point of an idea
- Your influence matters - meet important people, make friends and use your contacts to help you
- A good entrepreneur must have drive and intelligence and needs to be 'smart and lazy' (Von Moltke Management Value Matrix)
He finished adding that being an entrepreneur gives you freedom to work with people you want and to spend money as you see fit but you must ensure that you measure your progress and have a target as well as an exit strategy.