Last Thursday 13 finalist from all UK universities who are part of a network of University Alliance universities pitched their ideas at Salford Media City. And my start-up Ayswap was one among them. I am extremely honoured and delighted to be recognised as top 13 student entrepreneurs across the UK universities and had an opportunity to represent my Kingston University. Being able to speak about my idea and share it in front of other amazing young entrepreneurs and potential investors at this year Enterprise Stars 2018 – Investing in ideas that impress was an invaluable experience. 
The event started with a panel discussion with Tim Foster from Oxford Brookes University, Peter Down from Cariocca Enterprises, Tom Howsam from Paid, Andrew Dean from We are Nova and Mark Robinson from Barclays. The discussion was about entrepreneurship and how can entrepreneurial students stand out from the crowd with their ideas.
1.  Entrepreneurship – what is it
The speakers raised some thoughts about what is entrepreneurship and what does it mean to be an entrepreneur.  Being an entrepreneur is a lifestyle and not one-time linear job. It comes with all sorts of challenges and having just a great idea does not really means much, unfortunately. An entrepreneur, in general, succeeds not only with the innovative idea but also with its ability to successfully deliver it. When talking about the innovative idea this means that the business idea needs to be based on some big enough problem and the need, which is worth solving for the society. This idea also needs to be clear and simple to understand and have a financial potential for the future, because after all how can you do a business without it.
2. Pitch after the business pitch
Another key point that arose during the discussion in terms of entrepreneurial networking was that we are always pitching and representing a brand, which is ourselves. When delivering a business pitch, it is not that 5 min pitch on the stage that will get you an investment or a new relationship with potential business partners but a ‘pitch’ that happens after the presented pitch. Meaning your ability to pitch in an informal way, present your brand (yourself) and build long-term relationships is what will scale your business up. After all one important business card can be worth way more than thousand pounds of investment.
3. Technology should not lead your idea
When talking about technology it was emphasised how nowadays we are so stuck into the technology, with all the apps that are making our life easier and more efficient that especially at the early stage start-ups we only see one solution- develop ‘such and such app’. But when starting with new ideas we should understand and create the technology in a way that will make a lead on top of our idea not staring with leading the whole idea with the technology. I found this great speech of Sheryl Sandberg summing up this though – “Technology needs a Human Heartbeat. It’s not the technology you build… it’s the teams you build – and what people do with the technology you build…the most difficult problems and the greatest opportunities are not technical. They are human.”
4. Working harder or changing the idea?
When you clearly understand all three points stated above and you already started with developing your business, there comes a time when it seems things are not moving forward anymore as they used to. The question that arose during the panel discussion was whether in moments like that you should give up on your idea, pivot it or perhaps work harder? How can we recognise our limits? Well, surrounding yourself with the people you trust and the one that will give the real feedback that will help you to grow is definitely a way of going forward. The people who know your strengths and weaknesses and can see things from different views should help you to get these answers, guide you or give you an advice whether you should push yourself a bit more or change your idea.
Those would be main points raised at Enterprise Stars and I am very grateful to be part of this year’s event. I received much-needed feedback and new ideas on how to improve Ayswap and hopefully, this is just the very very beginning for Ayswap. Watch out:)