31st October 2013 Ottawa, Canada

An idea to an award: winning the UKTI’s Graduate Entrepreneurs Festival

The following blog is by our guest blogger, Richard Loat who was part of the team that won 1st place at the UKTI Global Graduate Entrepreneurs’ Festival

An idea to an award: winning the UKTI’s Graduate Entrepreneurs Festival

I have been fortunate in many ways to be a child of the world. British-born, I grew up in the UAE, spent a lot of time in India where most of my family resides, raised in Canada, worked in California in two separate occasions, and amidst all this, have a family that likes to travel.

There is lot in this world that shapes one as a person, and the more diverse and different each experience, the richer we become as individuals. Experiential capital is at the heart of growth of any kind, and once again this past September I found myself in one of the most profound experiences to date – the UKTI’s Graduate Entrepreneurs Festival.

One of the most incredible things in the world has no borders, parameters, or limits. It’s contagious, infectious and viral. It has the power to create and it has the power to destroy. Something so powerful it has the potential to mobilize, inspire, and energize.

This thing is very simple. While its scope and size has the potential to be of size beyond our imagination, in reality it is very small.

An idea.

Being able to collaborate with people from around the world has become easier as technology has developed and truly reduced all barriers to communication across borders. That said, there is real value in being able to work in person especially in an incubated and accelerated environment.

Now – add 180 people from 43 countries together for three days and throw them in the entrepreneurial equivalent of the Large Hadron Collider and something special just might happen.

In a group that boasted a Canadian, Italian, Nigerian, Greek, Iranian, French, and Singaporean influence there was a melding of experience, interest and culture which fostered a unique cultivation of an idea. Heading over-seas to join other like-minded individuals, I had no idea what to expect, but was hoping if nothing else to be able to learn from all those around me. What resulted exceeded any expectations I could have had.

In an environment that respected social enterprise and put it on even footing when compared to other for-profit ventures, it was exciting to pitch and stand by an idea that’s been proven in Canada and launching in the UK. As a British-born Canadian it was an especially proud moment to represent Canada and to also be back in the motherland.

What’s most encouraging is seeing the British government not only invest in entrepreneurship but embrace it as the future of the economy’s development – making it easier to start in the country.

As an entrepreneur, no matter where you go, you’re typically choosing to take the path less traveled. Or in many cases, the path that doesn’t even exist. Being an entrepreneur isn’t a choice, a career or a profession. It’s a lifestyle. It’s rooted in your DNA in many ways.

Bringing a cohort of similarly wired people together generated a spark and a wave of change in the future that spans the spectrum of industries and fields. From robotic engineering to sport social enterprise, the future is bright. Something special started in Manchester and now a core group of game changers want to be more than that, they want to be world changers.

It starts with a single idea.

It starts now.