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Innovators set out digital future for business at Creative Entrepreneur event


Innovators set out digital future for business at Creative Entrepreneur event

Friday 5 December 2014

More than 300 North West small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and students had the chance to learn from some of the UK’s most innovative thinkers and operators in digital business at Salford Business School’s Creative Entrepreneur 2014 - Next Generation event at MediaCityUK.

The day of masterclasses, panel sessions and workshops at the University of Salford’s MediaCityUK campus on Wednesday 3 December offered local business people and Business School students the opportunity to gain experience of the latest developments in the digital economy and help them make the most of the huge opportunities available in an online, connected world.

The event also saw the launch of a Salford Business School report looking at creative entrepreneurship in detail and highlighting the School’s work with SMEs to help them grow. The ‘SMEs thinking differently – creative entrepreneurship in action’ study gives examples of how small and medium-sized businesses have benefited from the Business School’s expertise and used new digital, creative and social media to make the most of commercial opportunities.

The massive impact of video bloggers on consumer decision-making was highlighted at the event by keynote speaker Dom Burch, Asda’s Senior Director for Marketing Innovation and New Revenue, in the event’s first keynote speech. Burch gave Asda’s partnership with YouTubers, such as fashion and beauty vlogger Zoella, as an example of successful new ways of engaging with customers, and showed how small businesses with limited budgets can use video and online platforms to raise brand awareness and drive sales.

Successful female entrepreneurs discussed the challenges facing women in business before a panel featuring futurologist Tom Cheesewright and Salford alumnus and founder of new social media channel Wakelet, Jamil Khalil, debated the ‘future of digital’, covering topics as wide-ranging as driverless cars and digital storytelling.

App developer Web Applications UK led a Dragons’ Den-style pitching session for the finalists of their Tech Angels Grand Ideas competition, which offered University of Salford students cash prizes and support for creative business ideas. Winner Lavinia Goddard, a first year BSc marketing student, received £1,000 and potential access to £2,000 per month, premises and mentoring for her online Christian, charity and community events platform Vinejuice.

Attendees also had the chance to interact through Twitter with Handles, an innovative play exploring the positive and negative aspects of social media written by digital agency DeLineo’s Head of Social Media, Tom Mason, and involving Salford performance students.

Throughout the day, business people and students could also discover the latest developments in digital media and see demonstrations of cutting-edge technologies and the University’s impressive MediaCityUK facilities such as its green screen studios.

Creative Entrepreneur – Next Generation organiser, digital business lecturer Alex Fenton, said: “2014 has been the Business School’s ‘Year of the SME’ and the event has given us the chance to open our doors to businesses so they can find out more about how the School and our students can benefit them through internships, business innovation projects and much more. They could also hear from a great range of experts in entrepreneurship and the digital economy.

“Creative Entrepreneur – Next Generation allowed us to showcase some of our fantastic student talent through the Tech Angels competition and the Innovation Bazaar, which highlighted creative business ideas on our touch-screen table at the MediaCityUK campus. We also put on show some of the great work in which our local and national collaborators are involved.”

Follow Salford Business School’s Twitter account @salfordbizsch for the latest updates of news and events.