Uni Cycle Solutions' Story… and why teaching entrepreneurship is so important.
Imagine a student on his first day at university, he has moved abroad. He is excited to meet new friends and worry about could go wrong. He is ready to bike to university for the first time when he finds out his bicycle got stolen. Can you imagine that feeling? Frustration, fear, confusion…
That student was me four years ago.
A 1st-year Physics and Astrophysics student at the University of Leicester, I was very focused on my degree but looking to widen my experience with new opportunities. But everything changed when in my 3rd year a joined LeanLaunchPad (LLP) (evidence-based entrepreneurship). A program taught by Shaun Lynes and Richard Ambrossi, based on the Startup lean methodology.
I’ve always been a cyclist, and I believe that is the better way of transport in a city. I could say it’s always been a passion. I decided to find a solution for bicycle theft, one of the biggest crimes in the UK.
Since that first day, I was committed to giving my best. Despite I was unaware of how to make a business out of it, I had a clear vision. I will do my best to avoid anyone else feel how I felt after my bike got stolen. I was going to do whatever it took to make it happen.
After a year of pivot after pivot after pivot but with a well-established goal. Uni Cycle Solution was created; Enric, Oscar, Ewan and Chris joined, a team of motivated and passionate individuals jumped on board to make that vision a reality.
WE BELIEVE IN A WORLD WHERE CYCLING IS EASY, SECURE AND ACCESSIBLE FOR ALL.
The team decided to go full time after university graduation, it wasn’t an easy decision, but we were all decided and committed to reach out goal. We built a strong business foundation and despite the global situation we pushed forward, and after very hard months we are proud to say that have come from lockdown stronger than ever. In September we launched our product and we are closing our first pilots with first clients and entering the UK market.
There is nothing that can break a strong team if the goal is clear and everyone is willing to do whatever it takes to pursue the common vision.
So why I am telling you all this?
Since we created Uni Cycle Solutions, one year ago, I can surely say that no one ever could have taught me what I have learnt in this journey.
I have grown professionally, technically but most important as a person. And this could have not been possible without my first mentor Shaun Lynes, which has been since day one, Leicester Innovation Hub and every single person that has helped throughout the way.
I am writing this to tell everyone that entrepreneurship is a career path as any other, more important sometimes. It takes a lot to enter this journey, sacrifice, hard work, persistence, tenacity, but if you have a clear goal that you really want to pursue it, go for it!!!!
However, we still need to offer that option and advice for a student looking for other career options. The University sector is struggling financially, as a result, they are looking to make cuts. My concern is their primary focus will be to preserve core subjects and as a result, cut funding for things like the Innovation Hubs and teaching Entrepreneurship, and this will affect terribly in what is for me, the place for new opportunities to follow your passion and do what you really like equally important as any degree. This deserves to be treated as any department, in every aspect.
My hypothesis is that teaching entrepreneurship and providing a start-up incubator is key to provide graduates alternative career opportunities. Most important at a time when many companies are looking to cut jobs and roles. Let’s give them the importance they deserve.