A Career in EventsYou can get a great buzz out of attending a good event, and if you organise it the buzz is even better. Every successful event requires a team of dedicated professionals with a range of skills but often the event industry isn’t considered as a career choice.

At the recent ESSA (Event Supplier and Services Association) AGM a fantastic video was shown about working in the events industry. It really speaks to how passionate those of us in the industry are about making event magic happen, mostly behind the scenes working with festivals, exhibitions, corporate launches, sporting events and one-off special events like a Royal Wedding!

We welcomed our 4th full year intern last year, and this year we will be taking on two more to support our growing engineering teams in the field. For the first time this year we also have an apprentice, a great way to get exposure in the events world, so if you know anyone looking to take that first step don’t forget about the events industry.

Of course, those with more experience are just as welcome, our company like many others is built on the years of experience gaining from all quarters including large and small companies.

We do all have one thing in common, we are one team and we love events!

Next week is Global Entrepreneurship Week an activity which has grown enormously over the last few years. In 2011 there will be some 40,000 events in 104 countries engaging somewhere in the region of 10 million people. Certainly ‘entrepreneurs’ are being highly popularised at present with programmes like The Apprentice, Dragon’s Den and The Secret Millionaire all playing a part. This is all great and there are some very inspirational people doing great things but I do get concerned that the image of entrepreneurs is all about creating huge multi-million pound businesses from scratch which, although a valid angle, is not the only route.

What I mean by this is that the common behaviours typically used to define entrepreneurs are just as important whether you set-up your own business, run someone else’s business or work pretty much anywhere within an organisation. To me it’s about vision, drive, passion, approach and execution; from identifying opportunities to creating value – all of which apply across the organisation, at all levels. One of our core values is innovation, working with our customers to drive continuous improvement, delivering new solutions and improving existing ones. Within that framework every employee is empowered to look for, and drive, ways to deliver more value for the customer and the company – this ranges from basic cost reduction to coming forward with ideas for entirely new services, products and markets.

Sparking the passion to do something great, different or better is part of what Global Entrepreneur Week is about so we have for many years done what we can to support activities around education and enterprise. This year we will again be running our hands-on Global Business Simulation for 120 pupils at a local school, an activity which aims to give a small insight into business for 13-14 year olds in an engaging and challenging way.

Alongside this we have been working with Bath University to support their Student Enterprise Shop Competition where groups of students get to create and sell a product of their choice for one day in the centre of Bath over a period of two weeks. This then feeds into a larger competition to develop the winning business further with mentoring from experienced business people which we will also be involved with.

Last week I also gave a talk at Bristol University to a group of students and budding entrepreneurs about our journey in creating a business – not the glitz of the television entrepreneurs but the real challenges for small businesses, the ups and downs and some honesty about what we did right and, more importantly, what we did wrong.

Although having a week focused on entrepreneurship is great it really only scratches the surface. We have been building on our existing activities to try and deliver some year round approaches. For example we have a very active summer placement and intern programme which we have now extended into working with Bristol University on a final year project, a project which encompasses both innovation and business aspects. The last piece is a relationship we have developed with the Bristol University Research & Enterprise Development Department to jointly develop a business idea with their Entrepreneur in Residence.

I guess the key point of what I’m saying is that we can all do our small bit to create the passion and inspiration for our future entrepreneurs, it’s not just for the people on the television programmes.

As part of our continued commitment to supporting young people and education Etherlive recently took part in the St. Joseph’s career’s day sitting on a ‘Question Time’ style panel. Four sessions of 40 students each took place throughout the day asking probing questions of the businesses who spoke candidly about the challenges of young people starting their careers.

Tom McInerney from Etherlive takes questions from students

Questions from the audience focused on a range of topics from the practical, like tips and tricks for interviews, to discussions around what help businesses are receiving from the government to encourage hiring young people. The aim of the day was to give an insight into the way businesses recruit and help students weigh up their future options.

Tom McInerney from Etherlive was among several panellists, many of whom are also part of the Swindon Strategic Economic Partnership, including St. Joseph’s governor Rob Collins a partner with Withy King, and Ramona Derbyshire a partner from Thring Townsend Lee & Pembertons.

Last week I attended a Meet the Entrepreneurs Speed Networking Event in Swindon. Several local schools are taking part in the program where students with an interest in business create a company to experience some of the challenges associated with business. Many choose a product which can be sold directly to the school students or teachers. The students (14 – 16 years old) met with companies from Wiltshire including Etherlive to discuss their concept and focus on how to develop the product.

I believe real world experience is a great way of students starting to appreciate some of the skills which are critical to the business world like working as a team and confidence. For the same reasons we also support programs such as Young Enterprise and others. This week as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week we are running a Young Enterprise Global Business Simulation at a local school.

It was great to spend time with the fledgling companies as they explained their products and what the planned to achieve. Some great ideas and really enthusiastic students, certainly several who could be the next Lord Sugar! Many thanks to the entrepreneurs who gave up their valuable time. Also a special ‘thank you’ to Thring, Townsend Lee & Pemberton LLP for providing a location for this event to be run.

Tom McInerney speaks to Dorcan Technology College students

Tom McInerney speaks to Dorcan Technology College students