Every year a select number of entreprenuerial University of Chester students compete for a place on our Venture Adventure scheme. The Venture Adventure aims to develop entrepreneurial thought and action, helping to turn business ideas into a reality, through a memorable mix of interactive talks and activities – and each year it’s held in a new location. In 2021 it was held in Wales, and in 2022 it was held in Almeria, Spain. Keep an eye on future editions of Student Shout Out to find out more about the scheme in 2023.
International Business Level 5 student Jade McArdle took part in 2022. This is her experience:
Venture Adventure, and what an adventure it was in so many ways! Firstly, what an amazing opportunity to be given as a student.
I didn’t come to university with my business idea – it was purely born from the inspiration of my modules throughout my course. I was at the stage where I had my business idea and I knew what I wanted it to look like but had no real concept of how I was going to get it to market and what that might entail. I can thankfully say that after this trip, I have a much clearer vision on what to do going forward and have made amazing memories with lots of different types of people.
Throughout the trip we took part in a number of activities that were non-business related but had elements that we could put into a business context and learn what possibilities that situation could hold. An example of this was kayaking. I love swimming. I am a strong swimmer and I love the water but for some reason the thought of going on the boats with someone else really frightened me. I had the mindset of, I want to go in the boat on my own because I didn’t want to put the pressure of me being nervous or a beginner on someone else and dampen their experience. If I did that, I wouldn’t have learnt anything.
Instead I went with Liam someone who has done this a thousand times and is a very patient person and was amazing at teaching me the ropes and reassuring me that he was there and had my back. For me personally and professionally this was a massive learning curve because I learnt that even though I am strong and very determined, I can’t always do everything on my own – sometimes it’s better to have help and let someone else take some of the workload and put their skills forward. That is a lesson I think will be valuable for me if I am to be become an entrepreneur.
An invaluable part of the trip for me was just talking to people. That sounds so simple, but it really did open my eyes to so many things. We were with four lecturers who all have their own experiences and skills. Getting to pick their brains and know more about their professional journey was really useful.
On the trip were also 10 students who were from different courses, year groups and a mix of six nationalities. Having such a diverse group was something I really thrived on. I am very inquisitive, and I love hearing about other people’s lives and stories. Being around this group gave me so much insight into different perspectives and even what life is like for them back at home. One evening we planned a little beach party. We got together and headed to the supermarket for some food and drink and just all sat on a blanket on the sand talking, dancing, and swimming in the sea. On this evening we all felt that we got know each other on more of a personal level which made the rest of the trip so much more enjoyable.
A fellow member of the group is in some of my modules, and I have worked with him a lot throughout my first year. That night on the beach we had a good one to two hour conversation about things such as his life back in India, what he wanted to get from university and much more. I learnt so much from just listening – a skill that’s so important in any industry. I am confident that when I work with him again in the future, our professional work will be of a much better quality because we understand each other a little more.
Another activity we did together was camping. You ask anyone who knows me and they would tell you that they wouldn’t catch me dead camping – I can be quite the princess at times! Building the tent from scratch together in teams was another learning experience. Usually in an instance like that I would probably be more of the leader, trying to take control but I knew I didn’t know what I was doing, and I had the least knowledge in our group so instead I got stuck in helping and listened to instructions. That was quite the learning curve for me. We actually got our tent up the quickest which made me realise that when everyone is in their strongest position in a team and you work together you create quality work. I would say that camping was one of my favourite nights of the trip.
Last of all we all developed our own ideas. We had a session where we all listened to each other’s business ideas and plans and gave feedback on how we thought they could progress or things that could be missing to help them take the next step. This was particularly beneficial for me as I am looking to go into a role such as a business analyst/advisor – helping business of all different scales grow and progress. This activity reminded me of how much I enjoy that and how even after just one year at university it is one of my strong skills sets. It gives me the opportunity to be creative which is important to me as it is something I enjoy and comes so naturally to me.
To anyone who is thinking of applying for Venture Adventure, my advice would be to just go and completely throw yourself into it and take every opportunity you have! I promise you won’t regret it.
Liam Boyle is a International Business Management level 6 student. Check out his video below to hear his thoughts on the Venture Adventure scheme.