Centre for Entrepreneurship>Blog>Entrepreneurial spark

What's your entrepreneurial spark?


At the age of 18 it felt like a bulldozer had come to my results day with me, each line of my results flattened any dream of getting into university. Standing there next to me was Bessey, my partner in crime, looking just as bleak in the face and it was at that point we decided we needed out. Two months later we were travelling across South East Asia where I found myself haggling over pennies, trading clothes for food and staying in hammocks just so we could keep on exploring. Travelling is where my passion for entrepreneurship started. Not in the conventional sense of starting a business, but in my ability to succeed in an ever changing environment taking risks such as eating cockroaches and maggots in exchange for a normal plate of noodles after. This in my eyes is the real definition of an entrepreneur.

Travelling widened my horizons (cliché I know, but true) and the new taste for innovation and success meant that the only way forward for me was university. Going through the process of applying and being turned away wasn't easy, and the final straw was when Cardiff Met rejected me. I decided that letters and words representing me on an application form were an unfair way to disregard my will to learn. So instead of giving up, I decided to be a bit entrepreneurial, I simply wrote a letter to the course Director. The letter explained all my skills which I'd not got across in the application form. Commitment was one of these attributes as commitment is the difference between a good idea and a great idea.  Enthusiasm was another attribute which I used, as enthusiasm is a method of sharing that idea to others. Once I had finished, it was a two page letter explaining what the University would be missing out on if I wasn't there… and it worked! Two weeks later my persistence had paid off and I was officially enrolled at Cardiff Met.

Looking back now, 'learned from my mistakes' is an understatement. I have reached the third year of my degree and hope to finish with a 2.1. Four years ago I would never have thought I would be where I am now. Starting your own business or getting a degree after struggling with A-Levels is all or nothing and with hard-work, determination and maybe being a bit of a nuisance. Nothing is impossible. If anything I have learned that nothing is too big for me to do, it's up to me to get up off by behind and get on with it.    

It was for this reason I applied to become an Entrepreneurship Ambassador for the University. I want to influence young talented students to break the mould of the predictable ways of today's society. Build up their confidence to start thinking on their own two feet and encouraging people to drive for achievement. The job creates an environment where students can meet entrepreneurs who have been through the process of starting up which helps them with direction, even if it is done over a beer. Launch Pad is a bridge between student and entrepreneur, developing skills and knowledge which ignite the drive for individualisation. Launch Pad runs events where students discover enterprise and are given the opportunity not only to discuss business ideas but also engage with others like them which only gets the creative juices flowing!

Blog post by Caroline Sandbrook, Student Entrepreneurship Ambassador
December 2013