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Student Entrepreneurs visit Silicon Valley

In May two student entrepreneurs, Jonny Forsey and Eleanor Hudson, and two coaches, Natalia Blagburn and Michael Fowle, from Northumbria’s BA (Hons) Entrepreneurial Business Management (EBM) programme travelled to Silicon Valley on a learning expedition.

In May two student entrepreneurs, Jonny Forsey and Eleanor Hudson, and two coaches, Natalia Blagburn and Michael Fowle, from Northumbria’s BA (Hons) Entrepreneurial Business Management (EBM) programme travelled to Silicon Valley on a learning expedition.

Jonny and Eleanor are the founders of WaitAtTheGate.com, a start-up they have been working on during their first year on the course.WaitAtTheGate.com is looking to help students and young travellers get cheaper flights.

Speaking of their experience Jonny commented:

“As part of our course we have an opportunity to travel internationally and Eleanor and I were thrilled we won funding to travel to Silicon Valley so we could immerse ourselves into the world of tech startups. In one week we met some amazing people, who helped us better understand where opportunities lie in our industry, what are the historical pitfalls and how we can potentially leverage the latest technology innovations in our business model.”

One of the people the team met during the travel was Juliet de Baubigny, a Northumbria alumna and Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), one of the largest and most established venture capital firms in the world. Juliet visited the University last year, meeting with students and staff of the EBM programme. Speaking of meeting Juliet again Eleanor said:

“One of the best pieces of advice that we’d like to take back to fellow students in Newcastle is that when you start you are only just 1,000 pitches away from your first investment. That made us want to pitch to everyone with feedback from our pitches helping us to develop our business proposition further. When we pitched to Juliet, she not only brainstormed the idea with us but also introduced us to top business people in the travel industry who have, themselves, started and sold companies.”

Natalia Blagburn, a former venture capitalist herself, spoke of the trip saying:

“We are looking to make this trip to Silicon Valley an annual event for our student entrepreneurs on the EBM course. There are tremendous benefits from talking to investors early, judging by the huge progress made by Jonny and Eleanor in just one week. Northumbria University has strong links with several North East entrepreneurs and former alumni as well as former staff now working in the start-up, venture capitalist and tech world of Silicon Valley. This gives us, and our students, unparalleled opportunities for expanding networks, learning from success and accelerating the growth of student enterprises.”


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