Part 1: Jay & Accelerator Programme
Cardiff Met, Entrepreneur Centre crafted a great accelerator programme for young entrepreneurs. The accelerator programme involved seven months of developing a business idea which included meeting each week to discuss and review the progress and stages of our ideas. Lee Sharma, the CEO of Simply, Do Ideas, and Josh Barnett the founder of Treatment Clothing were the primary deliverers of the workshop and sessions throughout the programme. They helped develop our business ideas by teaching key aspects of marketing, sales, blogging along with outstanding one-to-one support and guidance.
Starting the accelerator programme with just an idea was very overwhelming for someone like me, at the time I just had an idea on paper and not much confidence. I remember meeting Oliver, Megan, Laura and Ali and hearing about their incredible businesses, at this point I had a little doubt to weather I was even ready for a programme like this or if I was even at the right stage. After seeing that Lee and Josh were very passionate about helping young entrepreneurs and it did not matter what stage you were at, I felt that the accelerator programme was going to be the beginning on many great things me.
During the first few months, I began to break down and analyse my idea. Who was my audience? How passionate I was? What were my barriers? I discovered that there were two main obstacles. The first not having enough confidence in myself and the second, I was not qualified as a yoga teacher. My idea was to provide yoga meditation classes to those who could benefit from these practices, reaching out to people who experience mental health, students and young professionals that can not find the work-life balance, and experience unhealthy amounts of stress.
A GREAT BUSINESS PROGRAMME
I was very passionate about this because of my experiences. With the pressures of university that affected my studies, relationships, physical and mental health. I knew that harnessing yoga and meditation as a tool allowed me to regain focus on my studies and my life. So I was more than determined to bring these practices to others. Overcoming the struggles of not having enough confidence in myself, was tough. However, as I presented presentation after presentation during the programme, which was terrifying, to begin with, presenting became a little easier, I could relax a bit more, I knew what I was talking about, my idea molded something real and that I believed in and my confidence grew. I was surrounded by supportive, positive, encouraging people were some also were overcoming their struggles with confidence. After time, we all make excellent progress and learnt from one another.
THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE
The next obstacle was qualifying as a yoga teacher. I did not know that I would overcome this obstacle and I expect that I would actually fully qualify as a Zen Yoga teacher, during the programme. My determination, passionate for my idea along with the great support from Lee allowed me to do this, and the experience was fantastic, as the accelerator programme, again I was surrounded by beautiful, confident, and kind people. These barriers would not have been achievable if I did not believe that they were possible I gained insight from Lee who constantly was encouraging and positive supporting my idea and inspiring entrepreneurs who shared this journey with me.
Cardiff Metropolitan University and Simply Do Ideas have indeed made an incredible and useful programme for young entrepreneurs who have ideas, want to progress and gain new skills that can allow their business or ideas to grow. I am grateful to have been apart of this programme and have met great enterpeneurs such as Ali, Megan, Oliver, Laura and of course Lee and Josh.
Part 2: Ali & Accelerator Programme
I have started a sports psychology business called I Think Sport. I met Jay from NamasJay through Simply Do Ideas business mentoring program at Cardiff Metropolitan University along with three other entrepreneurs who were great to work alongside with, who had completely different businesses.
We were all ultimately in the same boat. Just starting out and finding our way with developing new business. My background has been in sports development so this is a change in direction for me, but it’s an exciting one! During the mentoring program, I took advantage of trying out yoga with Jay and doing a long bike ride from Wales to the French Alps.
I never tried yoga before, but Jay is a fantastic instructor and took me through a practice that was easy to pick up and understand. I also tried meditating with Jay while he was developing his business and it was enlightening! I've always been a bit skeptical about meditating, but it was so relaxing! I would recommend it. Now that the mentoring program is over, we are all off developing our businesses. We continue to keep in touch with each other. It has been great progressing through this time and rewarding to see everyone develop their ideas and move things forward.