#Celebrating10: Daniel Evans

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Daniel Evans is currently the founding member and chair of Birmingham Enterprise Community (BEC), having recently graduated with his Master’s in Entrepreneurship from Aston University. Along with the student-enterprise society he created at Newman University, he has also just launched an accelerator in Birmingham called FORWARD.

Daniel accredits his interest in enterprise and entrepreneurship to a few different factors in his life, “I come from a fairly entrepreneurial family! My Grandad and Grandmother moved up to the Midlands from South Wales to take an opportunity to start a business in 1969, which is still ran by my uncles to this day. So, from an early age I was able to see entrepreneurship in action. My eyes were finally opened by Kevin Griffiths, during my final year at Newman University. It made me realise that enterprise and entrepreneurship could actually be a powerful agent for positive change. I then had the opportunity through Newman’ to work out of Impact Hub Birmingham for a few months, alongside some incredible people creating a new vision for how the world can work, in a way that works for all. These were people not just talking about problems or ideas, they were taking action. I knew then that I needed to do something of my own.”

Daniel says entrepreneurship directly impacted his journey towards his current professions. He recounts, “Along with my partners at Birmingham Enterprise Community, which was created on the back of my engagement with a student-enterprise society I created at Newman University, we have launched an accelerator in Birmingham, FORWARD, which I am currently working on full time. The desire to understand how high-performing people and teams work, was one of the things that I think drove me to wanting to do something that involved helping start-ups through this accelerator. We talked about what we could do to collaborate and put out resources together to offer more support to students in our communities. Once I graduated the plan was to do a masters and work on creating my own venture. However, it became clear that there was a big opportunity to create something special from this project.”

Daniel’s involvement as President in a student-led society entailed

“Setting up NEST (Newman Enterprise Support Team) which was a student society in my final year at Newman University. Enterprise was quite new to Newman and with NEST we were able to add another layer of support for students at Newman wanting to engage in entrepreneurship. It was a massive lesson on building something from the ground up. One of the biggest challenges was trying to create maximum impact with very limited resources. This forced us to be creative and as resourceful as possible. We managed to run about 5 events that year including workshops with trainers form Google Digital Garage to local entrepreneurs giving talks- all on no budget.”

He describes the support he received from NACUE through his journey, “On a practical front, there have been many times we’ve faced a challenge and they have been able to share solutions from other societies or student-leaders who had faced similar problems. Not only do you meet a lot of like-minded people who you can bounce ideas and thoughts off but the range of speakers they pull together is incredible. Through everything we have done so far, they have always had faith in us and encouraged us all the way. Whether it is a morning phone call with Yani or coming into the office to chat with Holly and Yani, we always feel that they have our backs.”

His top highlight so far? “When we officially launched BEC. The energy and buzz created from the launch put us on a high for weeks. It felt that all we had been working on, away in the quiet for months, had come to something.”

His advice for the next generation is

“To make use of all the support on offer to you. From support at your university, student-society, NACUE and organisations like Enterprise Nation & Princes Trust. Working alongside others wanting to also start something is so powerful as collectively you can learn faster than you would as an individual.”

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