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Student entrepreneur’s trip of a lifetime

16th April 2015

A travel scholarship programme has allowed an entrepreneurial student the opportunity of a lifetime to go on a fact-finding mission to Australia.

Calam Nelson travelled half way around the world to join 1,300 likeminded people at the largest event for entrepreneurs in Australia.

The 19-year-old attended the Entrepreneur’s Unconvention, in Sydney, after receiving funding from Trust Estates, the property development company, through its Travel Scholarship Programme. He wanted to research entrepreneurship down under and learn about the business community, which would hopefully be of benefit to him and his fellow students.

Calam is studying on the Entrepreneurial Business Management course at Newcastle Business School at Northumbria University, an innovative course with a hands-on team-based approach to learning. Students work in teams to set-up and manage their own business enterprise, which develops their skills and knowledge in all areas of business.

The Entrepreneur’s Unconvention heard from guest speakers including speakers included Peter Davison from PayPal, David Rohrsheim from Uber and Australian serial entrepreneur Ruwan Weerasooriya.

Calam said: “It was a mad dash from the airport but to be in Sydney Town Hall with 1,300 entrepreneurs was incredible. The speakers gave me so much to think about and I was frantically taking notes so I could take it all back to my team and hopefully the advice and guidance will be able to help us to improve our business.

“The event really rekindled my motivation, enthusiasm and ambition for being entrepreneurial. It really demonstrated to me that anything is possible and it was great to see how strong entrepreneurship is in Australia.”

Calam spent five days in Sydney and as well as attending the conference, he arranged meetings with a number of businesses in the city.

He said: “Health and fitness is big over there, as is baking, so speaking with business owners gave me a great insight. I also spent some time sightseeing looking at the tourism industry as well as seeing at people’s lifestyle compared to ours.

“It was a personal challenge to cram as much into five days as I could, I found out a lot about myself in the process. I really had to ensure my time management was spot on and I found I could be quite independent travelling across the world by myself.”

The EBM course at Northumbria is based on the Team Academy approach which was developed in Finland, providing young people with the skills, knowledge and personal qualities to run their own business while getting a university degree.

Calam added: “I love the course, it’s a whole new way of learning and it doesn’t feel like I’m at university. The support from all the tutors has been great and I think I am getting so much out of it. I am also extremely grateful to Trust Estates for its support in offering me the funding to visit Australia”

Trust Estates is a privately owned property development company and works closely with the local communities in which it operates.  Students at Northumbria have been working with the company on a student accommodation development in Shieldfield, which will be opening September 2015.

Co-founder of Trust Estates, Helen Cadzow, is former student at Northumbria and has been mentoring the students on the EBM course.

She said: “The students have had a huge impact on the design and marketing of the building and we were delighted to sponsor Calam on his trip to Australia.”

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