There are now 155 Alumni who have graduated the programme since NEF was founded in 2010. These 5 cohorts of entrepreneurs continue to be an active part of the community, contributing their skills, experience, and expertise to the NEF network to help the next generation of entrepreneurs. You can read some of their thoughts and experiences on the programme below.
Alex Hoppenbrouwers, NEF Fellow 2015
NEF has been instrumental in shaping me as an individual; growing in my confidence as an entrepreneur and in my ability to execute. In my host company I have gained a comprehensive understanding of fundraising for a tech star-tup all the way from the initial investment to an exit. Not only have I grown my skillset but I now have a network comprised of highly influential investors and entrepreneurs. In summary, NEF has equipped me to have the skillset and network to go and start my own high-growth business.
Anna Cameron, NEF Fellow 2015
I will be forever grateful to NEF for giving me the courage to leave my full-time job and turn my business from a side hobby into a growing, scalable enterprise. For me, the most impactful elements of the programme were the coaching and mentoring programmes and the NEF network. My coach and mentors gave me more time, patience, help, introductions and wisdom than I could ever have hoped for. The strength of the NEF network means that there isn’t a question or problem that can’t be solved and the speed in which we advise each other is staggering!
Chris Butcher, NEF Fellow 2015
I have had some amazing opportunities to learn from some incredibly talented experts during my time on NEF. Alongside the experience gained from the coaching programme and networking opportunities, the foundation has helped me to radically change the way I analyse and exploit business opportunities which will play a critical role in developing a scalable business.
James Harford-Tyrer, NEF Fellow 2015
Joining NEF has changed my life trajectory. Prior to the course, I very much believed that as a young person relocating to London, my career options were confined to working in large corporations. Being a full-time entrepreneur never felt like a feasible option for a cash-strapped twenty-something. A year with the NEF has proved quite the contrary. I have been lucky enough to work in a senior management position at a high-growth tech company under an experienced entrepreneur. Moreover, it has opened-up a new network of ambitious, like-minded entrepreneurs, who have supported me in the launch of my own venture. I would strongly recommend the program to all young people. NEF provides you with the resources and confidence to build a career out of chasing dreams.
Petro Pandis, NEF Fellow 2015
This year has been one of the most useful, busy and amazing years of my life. I met great, successful and helpful people – I improved both my business and social networks and I learnt great things for life and businesses. I launched a business idea with 3 other people and I am looking forward to applying all the skills and knowledge from NEF. In addition, my mentor helped me a lot to surpass some personal difficulties, identify my strengths and eliminate my weaknesses while improving myself both in terms of business and personal development. Finally, NEF for me is not only a foundation and an amazing business development programme for a year, NEF is a family for life. Thanks NEF.
Rory Skinner, NEF Fellow 2015
I have had some amazing opportunities to learn from some incredibly talented experts during my time on NEF. Alongside the experience gained from the coaching programme and networking opportunities, the foundation has helped me to radically change the way I analyse and exploit business opportunities which will play a critical role in developing a scalable business.
Sadie Hochfield, NEF Fellow 2015
They tell you your NEF year will fly by, but that’s putting it lightly. It was a whirlwind of new learnings, experiences and people. I’m so grateful I was a part of it. From the opening boot camp right up until the final pitch days, you develop tangible skills to grow as an entrepreneur. I’m so excited to continue my journey, and I know whatever I do, the skills I’ve learnt from NEF will help me achieve my goals.
Andrew Trott, NEF Fellow 2014
NEF has been an invaluable experience. A no holds barred introduction into what it really takes to be an entrepreneur. The workshops and talks with key figures within entrepreneurship are extremely useful as well as the supportive NEF community. I cannot emphasise enough how valuable the programme has been to me and absolutely certain it was the right thing to do in order to eventually fulfil my entrepreneurial ambitions.
Ari Ratnakumar, NEF Fellow 2014
Within 1.5 years we managed to get our business from an idea to a cash-flow positive business with 10 employees and more than half of FTSE 100 companies on our client list.
The NEF network has been vital in achieving this growth by introducing us to investors and advisors.
Arjun Patel, NEF Fellow 2014
Most useful thing I’ve learnt about tech entrepreneurship from NEF: Share your idea with everyone and get all the feedback you can. Learn to detach yourself emotionally from objectively bad ideas so that you have more time to work on more viable business ideas. What I’ve learnt through work placement: There are many intrapreneurial roles to be found at innovative companies even a PLC like Betfair.
Barnaby Lewis, NEF Fellow 2014
NEF is a fantastic way to learn how to setup and run your own business within a group of like minded and driven individuals.
It is the practical startup MBA equivalent that equips those who partake with the tools they need to take on the challenge of setting up a successful business.
Bea Addis, NEF Fellow 2014
NEF was a transformational experience for me. I have gained a comprehensive understanding of the current and most useful frameworks for starting up, running and scaling a new business. Furthermore I have an extensive and extremely helpful network that has already proved invaluable to me. Being on the NEF programme has also presented many incredibly opportunities, including the opportunity to be part of the founding team of a new bio-inspired technology company – a hugely exciting and fast-growing space.
Ben Lee, NEF Fellow 2014
The foundation has given me a truly incredible and unforgettable year. Aside from the network I have built, I have crucially learnt to think big and not to fear failure. Whilst I have not successfully launched a business this year, I’m confident that the experiences I have had and knowledge I have gained this year will hold me in good stead for future ventures and throughout my career.
Besart Krasniqi, NEF Fellow 2014
Writing a short testimonial is a difficult ask because I could genuinely write pages worth of how amazing and beneficial the NEF experience has been to me. But if I had to summarise my time on the scheme I would say that I have built a very resourceful and relevant network, met amazing like-minded people, learnt new hard and soft skills, developed my idea into a viable business plan/proposition and gained valuable commercial/corporate experience at my host company in a role that would of taken me 2/3 years to get into had I gone through the usual application process. Before joining the NEF I was a highly ambitious but inexperienced (commercially) prospective entrepreneur with a list of great ideas that I wanted to pursue. Coming out of NEF, I now have valuable and credible experience and I am able to think critically and properly plan, evaluate and pitch my ideas which has allowed me to turn my list of great ideas into a list of viable business plans. Once I started moving forward with my venture I came across a number of challenges and difficulties and I was able to turn to the NEF network for help and advice on tackling those challenges. In summary having a mix of training and learning through the workshops, support through the mentoring and coaching schemes, and networking both within the cohort and externally through events and introductions creates the perfect formula for success. Especially for entrepreneurs at the idea stage, the NEF is truly a life changing experience.
Clare Mackey, NEF Fellow 2014
The NEF program provides you with the support, confidence and knowledge to accelerate your entrepreneurial journey regardless of the stage at which you are at. By equipping you with a network, mentorship and practical business experience you can develop your skills and abilities to go it alone. The practical training days including sales, negotiation and public speaking were particularly enjoyable for me.
Dawid Kotur, NEF Fellow 2014
My NEF year was interesting. I have met many amazing people and found out that a life of an entrepreneur does not have to be a lonely one. During the year I learnt a big deal about myself and communicating with others. While that does not sound like much, I realised that being a successful entrepreneur is easier if you are self-aware and have good communication skills. In short, NEF will give you knowledge, skills and the confidence to run your own business. NEF will take you out of your comfort zone just like running a business would.
Deepesh Patel, NEF Fellow 2014
The New Entrepreneurs Foundation nurtures aspiring entrepreneurs to actually go and set up a business, giving them the tools to develop and then test ideas, soft launching an idea and carrying it out. Personally, I turned a passion I had into a sustainable business. I used the network I had gained through my cohort and previous ‘NEFers’, as well as some of the lessons I had learned throughout the year (most notably sales, MVP and testing) as well as support from the NEF’s wider network. I will feel much more confident when I go and pitch for funding, and coupled with the fantastic experience I had working for a fast growing tech company, this was a great scheme.
Dhrupad Karwa, NEF Fellow 2014
The programme has been just so… immersive. Through the workshops, events and our own conversations, we became so involved in the world of start-ups. This constant exposure to new ideas, thought leaders, literature and technologies really motivated me to independently invest in my learning and skills – thus creating a multiplier effect of sorts! Also, as a full-time entrepreneur, the programme provided me with structure and a phenomenal support network (which is absolutely crucial when the dark night falls…) In this world of social networks and digital media, the value of an MBA to entrepreneurs has been called into question. For me, the NEF programme, which encompasses both the holistic and technical elements of early-stage entrepreneurship, is the new model. I could not recommend it enough.
Greg Aubert, NEF Fellow 2014
The business insight I had was phenomenal. As a 22-year-old, getting to work with the founder and the marketing director in a company that is a market leader was unbelievable. That level of access usually comes when you’re 30+. As well as getting that kind of priceless exposure I learnt a lot of practical skills too. For me that was digital marketing and I can now deploy those skills in my future ventures.
Greg Drach, NEF Fellow 2014
I had read a number of books on entrepreneurship, marketing, business and leadership. The NEF programme helped me to put my knowledge on entrepreneurship into one coherent piece. During my NEF year, I interacted with a number of highly influential people: my coach, mentor, education providers, colleagues at the placement company and a number of entrepreneurs and business leaders. These have helped me gain a better understanding of who I am, what my strengths are and how I could best utilize them. During the NEF year, I’ve grown both personally and professionally and I am now positioned to make a dent in the world through entrepreneurship.
Irving Shark, NEF Fellow 2014
NEF was a great opportunity to experience life in a start-up while being in a safe environment to experiment with my own ideas.
I feel so privileged to have been on this journey, and now feel so much more confident in launching new ventures.
Issy Richards, NEF Fellow 2014
My NEF mentor, Brett Akker, was a great addition to my year. He was very generous with his time and advice and is happy to help on-going into the future.
Most importantly he has real experience launching and growing businesses which gives the programme a unique dimension.
Josh Levy, NEF Fellow 2014
Thanks to the NEF, I got the opportunity to work in an industry usually reserved for people with far greater experience.
I have had the chance to learn from proven entrepreneurs and business people on a day to day basis, and have worked on live deals at every stage of the investment pipeline.
Josh Turner, NEF Fellow 2014
The New Entrepreneurs Foundation has helped to excel my knowledge, experience and network no end which is vital to helping me achieve my goal of running my own business. This goal would have been achieved regardless, but there is a difference of realising this in 10-15 years and 1-5 years. NEF has given me the confidence and status to be able to go out and pursue what I want to do most, the MVP testing workshops have helped me to test multiple ideas and concepts at once, and therefore see clearer on what opportunities I should focus my attention on!
Kimberley Shearer, NEF Fellow 2014
NEF has been the best opportunity I could have wished for. If I hadn’t taken the leap from my job (that I loved) and grasped this chance I would have missed out on learning from and networking with some of the best business brains in the UK. My work placement at Dyn has been fantastic and helped me immensely – it has given me understanding into international business and its challenges which I hadn’t been exposed to before. Thanks to NEF and my placement I feel so much more equipped now and mentally ready to start up my own business and I am confident I can now speak and approach people to help me on the way.
Lauren Hornbuckle, NEF Fellow 2014
The New Entrepreneurs Foundation gave me the confidence to try new things and to not be afraid to speak to successful entrepreneurs who I previously found intimidating. The start-up company I’m now working at, where I’m part of the senior team, has some heavy hitters in terms of investors and angels. I’ve been able to approach investors such as Brett Akker with confidence, and knowing that he and others know a bit about NEF! I also found the workshops etc good, it made me think about business in a different way, which has certainly helped in my new role.
Michelle Kalu, NEF Fellow 2014
NEF is a great opportunity to develop entrepreneurialism in a supported environment.
By the end of the programme I felt knowledgeable, confident and energised enough to really start taking my projects further.
Oliver Cassels, NEF Fellow 2014
NEF puts you at the epicentre of entrepreneurship. Working closely with a successful founder and CEO has shown me the mechanics of what it takes to build a great business. The panel sessions, fireside chats and network have inspired me with others achievements and spurred me on to strive for my own goals, whilst the workshops have given me an unparalleled new skill-set. I joined the NEF wanting to build my confidence and to learn as much as humanly possible – it has exceeded all expectations and I am sure that some frighteningly successful businesses will bear the NEF badge in 10 years time…!
Olivia Martyn, NEF Fellow 2014
I joined the New Entrepreneurs Foundation with a view to expand my business knowledge; I left having started a business. The development workshops, the network of influential and helpful individuals, and the support of the team and cohort were critical in my achievements. I am exceptionally grateful for being a part of the programme, and how much of an influence it has had on my progress.
Rebecca Ellul, NEF Fellow 2014
NEF has given me a vast range of skills and experiences that no other learning programme could provide. From insightful speakers at inspirational venues such as the London Stock Exchange, to nutting out numbers in our entrepreneurial finance workshop with a venture capitalist, culminating in a pitch to high profile investors, the programme is holistic, immersive, and undoubtedly a formative stepping stone for anyone interested in entrepreneurship.
Sam Floy, NEF Fellow 2014
Quite simply the best spent year I could have imagined for taking steps to start my own business. The programme, people and placement companies associated with NEF have been wholeheartedly supportive, and are my first port of call when I need/want to chat business. If you are genuinely serious about an entrepreneurial “career path”, in my opinion, NEF is a must. I will look back at accepting the NEF placement as a defining moment in my life/career, no doubt.
Sam Walsh, NEF Fellow 2014
Really enjoyed and gained from the day workshops. Excellent delivery and some great content. I have come away with much more developed skills in critical thinking, this is currently helping me in my working life, and also on my business ideas. The 3-day bootcamp was fantastic, a great start to the year and really valuable way to get to know everyone. Most difficult – making first steps after the course has finished and working out how to keep moving forwards with my ideas and plans. A fantastic group of peers in the cohort – acting as a great support and inspiration.
Thamim Ahmed, NEF Fellow 2014
The NEF program (especially the UCL lectures) have been hugely beneficial towards my entrepreneurial journey. I have the knowledge, skills and confidence to efficiently execute a concept, access to the right network to scale up and have developed life long friendships with the next generation of successful entrepreneurs.
Tom Cledwyn, NEF Fellow 2014
NEF has a unique and perfect mix of learning experiences. From the classroom, placement, mentoring and coaching to the speaking events, networking and cohort themselves.
The year is geared brilliantly to creating well rounded problem solvers and future business owners.
Will Read, NEF Fellow 2014
Being mentored at my host company has been genuinely life-changing. I’ve learnt so much from being exposed to the inner workings of a growing company, and I’ve grown as an entrepreneur and a person by helping to tackle the challenges the business faced – and by sharing in their successes. I’ve now started a business with the backing of the three entrepreneurs I worked for during my NEF year, and am lucky to say that I now see all three of them not only as mentors but as lifelong friends.
Anthony Silver, NEF Fellow 2013
When I joined NEF, I was excited. Leaving NEF, I’m even more excited! This past year has made me realise that I can achieve my ambitions, and has also helped guide me in the right direction. We have been privileged to enjoy the support of the NEF team, the great external lecturers and teachers, the inspiring entrepreneurs at speaker events, the corporate sponsors, our host companies and also the rest of the cohort – a group of people with whom I have never felt such collective empathy. I am convinced that many of the bonds that have been made during my NEF year will continue for the rest of my life and that we will all have huge success in whatever paths we travel. I can’t wait to welcome a NEFer into my own company in the not too distant future. A huge and heartfelt thank you to everybody involved in making my year with the New Entrepreneurs Foundation the best of my life so far.
Areef Jetha, NEF Fellow 2013
Being surrounded by positive, ambitious and entrepreneurial people who are willing to challenge the status quo, create things and have an inbuilt curiosity has been my favourite part of NEF. In such an environment the set of possibilities increases and people motivate each other to go for things. Moreover, the access to successful entrepreneurs and very relevant trainings ranging from resilience training to financials is very unique. My career coach has been incredible in helping me improve my level of self-awareness and develop my leadership abilities.
Amelie Boadle, NEF Fellow 2013
The NEF year as a whole has been totally eye opening and inspiring. It has cemented many thoughts in my head about wanting to create a business from scratch, and the consequent life-changing experiences. Without a doubt it has opened up opportunities and introductions to people that would never have been possible without NEF, as well as lessons that will be invaluable in the future. There have been so many fantastic aspects to the year: the workshops, speaker events and mentor sessions have all been hugely insightful, and my coach has been invaluable. Most crucial of all has been my cohort as they are all people I feel I would be able to call up in the future, get advice from and leverage their networks. NEF has been truly transformational both in terms of personal and professional development. I couldn’t recommend it more strongly to people who want exposure to incredible people and everything that surrounds starting and running a business.
Barbara Uzodinma, NEF Fellow 2013
Being selected to join the NEF was a turning point in my life. Coming from a completely legal background, focusing on my entrepreneurial ambitions was a big change but luckily for me, it proved more than worth it! I can’t even begin to list everything that I have learnt over the past year but after each workshop, speaker session or learning visit, I always left with invaluable commercial insight and understanding.
The workshops were the most valuable for me as they gave me the opportunity to take time out from my busy work schedule and reflect on my abilities and motivations and learn some key skills to help me on my business journey. Although we worked in teams for most tasks, there was a lot of time for personal reflection where I could assess my abilities and take steps to enhance them.
From running a social enterprise educating entrepreneurs on their legal obligations in business, to establishing a fashion business creating contemporary custom-fit dresses for women, I genuinely believe that there isn’t a business opportunity I couldn’t tackle, provided I put everything I have learnt into practice. The NEF programme has given me incredible confidence and has made me acutely aware of my skill set and the value that it can bring to a business. I’m excited about the future and I’m thankful for the opportunities created by the NEF.
Christopher Sheldrick, NEF Fellow 2013
NEF has been the best experience I could have ever wished for. It has an ideal balance of work and learning. NEF raised my ambitions and gave me the platform to jump into the world of entrepreneurship. With the NEF I have had an organisation which has supported me and given me the platform to meet people I could only have dreamed of meeting and received a cherry picked list of educators and speakers that I couldn’t have imagined having access to.
I owe a lot to NEF and their supporters. I now need to prove myself so that I can give back to those that have supported me so generously in the past year. Thank you.
Corbyn Munnik, NEF Fellow 2013
When the NEF cohort gets together at workshops and speaker events, you get a refuel on your entrepreneurial enthusiasm and drive. I’ve enjoyed every meeting with my cohort and as a result of an incredibly well integrated learning programme, NEF has accelerated my commercial awareness, business acumen and personal confidence by a staggering amount.
Firstly, I’ve learnt a massive amount from the rest of the cohort. Secondly, pitching such an early stage start-up to major UK pub groups has given me great confidence in selling myself; and lastly, the seminars and speaker events give you a chance to relate back to things which may not have gone so well and give you a chance to learn from your mistakes.
The major benefits of doing NEF, rather than a normal graduate scheme, were the huge amount of exposure I received in my placement, the network I built, and the chance to meet influential people through the speaker events. With the contacts I have gained, and the skills I have acquired I am now in far better stead to run my own successful company.
David Galbraith, NEF Fellow 2013
I worked for billionaire and founder of 2 Sisters Food Group, Ranjit Singh, while at NEF. He was the best inspiration and role model anyone could ask for in business. Through exposure to activities at the highest level, I gained insights into how to run a very large, successful business.
The workshops are not only well-timed reunions with friends on the cohort, but they also offered unparalleled opportunities to improve oneself with sessions from the McKinseys of this world. Having an executive coach is also a fantastic perk.
It was a difficult decision to turn my back on the classic postgraduate opportunities. However, NEF presented an entirely unique and prestigious opportunity. Nowhere else could I have been paid to work for a top entrepreneur, as well as moonlighting my own ventures, have access to the extensive NEF contact book and make lasting connections with the astounding individuals in the cohort/alumni group. Most importantly, I feel entirely confident that because of my NEF year, becoming a top entrepreneur is going to be that much faster. It’s unlikely that I would have been able to have such an experience anywhere else.
Daniel Gillespie, NEF Fellow 2013
My year on the NEF programme has been nothing short of amazing. I’ve developed many skills and expanded my network tremendously. I have no doubt that I will be calling upon both as I move forward and cultivate my next venture. I would highly recommend NEF to all budding entrepreneurs – you will be challenged and motivated, and move further along in your journey to achieve greatness!
Dan O’toole, NEF Fellow 2013
The last 12 months have surpassed all expectations! It would be impossible to learn so much on a traditional graduate programme. Through the training workshops and placement I’ve had the opportunity to learn from the best and I’m confident that I’ve developed the skills to take an idea from a piece of paper and bring it to market successfully. For anyone thinking about taking the entrepreneurial path I can’t recommend NEF enough!
James Barry, NEF Fellow 2013
NEF has been one of the best experiences of my life and I’m really glad I went against the grain of applying for graduate schemes.
The many different components of NEF have tested me and brought out the best in me. As a result I feel I’ve developed far more than I ever thought possible in this short space of time. It has been the perfect extension of my business degree – I’ve particularly benefitted from workshops on preparing investment pitches, the importance of validating an idea through MVPs and customer development and also the pains of rapid growth through acquisition.
It has been great to be surrounded by a group of ambitious people who share the same dream of wanting to run their own businesses.
Having one-on-one meetings with founder & chairman, Sir Charles Dunstone, and CEO, Dido Harding [of TalkTalk] would have been unimaginable without NEF. These meetings gave me great advice and reminded me constantly about the importance of hard work, developing a viable vision and always seeking ways to put the customer first. It goes without saying that time with such impressive business leaders was also hugely inspirational. I am really thankful to the NEF team and also to Nick Clark and Nicola Woods at my host company for giving me this opportunity.
Jason Gibbs, NEF Fellow 2013
The New Entrepreneurs Foundation has been an incredible experience and has given me the opportunity to immerse myself in the entrepreneurial world by surrounding myself with a cohort of 30 ambitious, hungry and innovative young entrepreneurs. The network & workshops have also been very inspiring and have reaffirmed what I already knew: entrepreneurship is the way forward!
Lucy Evans, NEF Fellow 2013
I feel like I am beginning to ‘talk the talk’ and ‘walk the business walk’. I’m launching my own venture, one that is well thought through, could make money and do good. This is not the same venture I came onto the program with. I am not really the same person as I was when I joined NEF: I am more aware of what it takes, of what I can and can’t do, who I need to help me, more aware of the huge knowledge gap I have and how to go about filling it.
This change was enabled by high quality advice from people who have trodden their own winding entrepreneurial roads; a cohort where ideas are thrown about at a dizzying speed, constantly being iterated on, improved and discarded; NEF seeing my potential, giving me confidence in my own abilities, and finally my placement company, seatwave, offering me a position and piling on responsibility after responsibility. This change was also brought about by simply being exposed to the growing entrepreneurial world for a year. Beforehand, I didn’t even know it existed.
Nick Morris, NEF Fellow 2013
NEF has proved the most remarkable fast-track learning experience I could have asked for. The platform provided by the programme is one on which I firmly believe my future entrepreneurial journey will be founded; it is hard to imagine any other career path which could make the same claim within a mere 12 month period. From technical skills to emotional resilience, it has given me, and my wonderful peers, not only the belief that a career as an entrepreneur is a viable one, but also an incredibly valuable and supportive head-start in what can be an extremely treacherous path to tread. I am already looking forward to the challenge of repaying this immense debt to the NEF team and its supporters in the best way possible: by using this fantastic scheme as the platform to build and scale genuinely change-making businesses.
Nima Kafai, NEF Fellow 2013
NEF has been more than just the most educational year of my life – it has been instrumental in building my confidence. The best thing about the programme was being surrounded by like-minded people. We were able to become each other’s support network and really help accelerate our individual entrepreneurial ambitions. I have built lifetime friendships with those in my cohort and look forward to watching where each of our entrepreneurial journeys takes us. Above all else, I have learnt the importance of action and not being paralysed by the fear of failure. These lessons will stay with me throughout my career and when I start my own business I will be forever grateful for the opportunities that were provided to us by NEF.
Nikita Thakrar, NEF Fellow 2013
NEF is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The combination of working directly with the founders of a company, seeing what it is like to run a start-up and having an insight into the decision making process at my host company has been hugely educational.
Combined with the learning opportunities at workshops, this year has been something many people could only hope to experience. It will definitely put me in a good position to deal with any problems in future businesses I work in or start.
Rupert Laing, NEF Fellow 2013
It is rare that such an ambitious programme actually delivers what it promised to achieve but the NEF did it all and more. Buckets of enthusiasm and ambition can get you a long way but the knowledge, contacts and experience that the NEF programme gives you creates the perfect platform to build a successful business. It is a wonderful opportunity to experience something totally new. The year enabled me to broaden my knowledge through both practical experience and educational sessions. My host company, Intuit, could not have been better about involving me in the business and giving me exposure to start-ups. They believed passionately in helping small businesses and taught me a great deal. I also found the mentor sessions with the NEF at the end of the year to be invaluable. I cannot thank everyone involved enough and look forward to staying in touch with the alumni for many years to come.
Ry Morgan, NEF Fellow 2013
The thing I was looking forward to most upon joining NEF (and what turned out to be true) was the strength, knowledge and network which the 2013 cohort brought together. I expected a talented pool of people but admittedly the group with whom I spent the last 12 months are far beyond what I could have hoped for in terms of friends, peers and potential colleagues.
NEF exposed me to an incredible range of people, professionals and peers throughout the year, all of which have been irreducibly helpful in taking my business to the next stage of growth. In frank terms, PleaseCycle’s bottom line grew exponentially; we expanded internationally, and trebled our staff whilst on NEF – which is surely the ultimate testament to NEF’s value.
Simon Graffy, NEF Fellow 2013
NEF has given me great confidence that entrepreneurship is a viable career path. I feel like it has also given me credibility. It has massively improved my commercial skill set and I now feel equipped and confident to grow a big business. I improved my knowledge of finance, different forms of funding and where to access them. It has given me a context within which to frame business decisions. In addition, meeting successful people and hearing their stories has meant I could learn from their approaches. My network has also grown and I feel I have the right people around me now to achieve nearly anything I put my mind to.
Samantha Lott, NEF Fellow 2013
NEF has truly transformed the way I think and given me the confidence to think big. I have been equipped with the knowledge, network and support to succeed in my ambitions. NEF is life changing; not only does it alter your outlook and aspirations, it also gives you 30 like-minded friends to support you in the future. I would recommend NEF to anyone who wants to escape the status quo.
Hamish Grierson, NEF Fellow 2012
“A heartfelt thanks – NEF has changed my life immeasurably”
NEF has changed my life immeasurably. It is partly that I can now count 3 Sirs, 4 Lords and numerous Captains of Industry in my black book. Partly that I’ve had the privilege of learning from the most exceptional business people. And partly that I’ve made friends for life with whom I can accelerate ideas and build businesses. Before NEF, my horizons looked confused and unfulfilling. Today, I have the unshakable belief that I have precisely what it takes to create an enduring business which I love running, for which people love working and on which consumers love spending money! Heartfelt thanks to all of you.
Ravi Patel, NEF Fellow 2012
“I have learnt what it requires to take an idea and scale in to a large business”
Through the training, workshops and my placement at Virgin Active, I have learnt what it requires to take an idea and scale in to a large business. Through the network I have built, both within the NEF cohort and externally, I know I can gather a solid team and apply my learnings from the NEF year to my own business. I can’t thank the NEF sponsors enough for supporting a program which has allowed me to express my entrepreneurial zeal. I can only repay everyone by ensuring that I now go on to build a prosperous, tech-education business that will create jobs and deliver a cutting edge service to the education sector.
Mike Bandar, NEF Fellow 2012
“NEF is helping build the next generation of outstanding entrepreneurs…watch this space!”
NEF has provided me with the sharpest and most valuable learning curve I have ever experienced. I have run my own business since I was 16 but the lessons learnt and experiences gained have increased my business acumen, extended my commercial awareness and raised all of my ambitions. For that I can only say thank you. I am determined to show you that supporting the New Entrepreneurs Foundation is helping build the next generation of outstanding entrepreneurs… watch this space!
Pradeep Raman, NEF Fellow 2012
“I have learned more this year than I would have done in 3 years”
Being guided by very successful investors and entrepreneurs with whom I was placed by NEF has accelerated my skills as a venture capitalist. I have learned more this year than I would have done in 3 years had I taken a more traditional approach. I will be capitalising on this experience by helping Piton Capital, my host company execute ambitious growth plans over the next few years.
Videesha Kunkulagunta, NEF Fellow 2012
“From Wealth Management to Entrepreneur… I couldn’t have done it without NEF”
The NEF has provided me with the mentorship and support system to guide me through the transition from wealth management to entrepreneur. NEF not only gave me the facilities, network and opportunity to develop my business ideas, but they also believed that each of us will be one of the next generation of top entrepreneurs in the UK. That has been invaluable and it gave me the confidence to co-found two new tech ventures: EverCare (www.everca.re) and a Travel Trader App. I wouldn’t have reached this point without the support of my sponsor company Talk Talk, my mentors: Sir Charles Dunstone, Dido Harding, Neil McArthur and Carlos Soares and of course the many training providers that have made the learning with NEF possible. Thank you once again for everything.
Tom Mursell, NEF Fellow 2012
“The most instrumental year of our lives”
This has been the most instrumental year of our lives. The group dynamic is brilliant because we’re all innately bonded by our single aspiration: to create gamechanging businesses of the future that will generate wealth and contribute to the UK economy. It wouldn’t have been possible without you, the sponsors, so please accept our sincere thanks for supporting us. As a result of the education and experience I have received I am now establishing an ambitious start-up with high aspirations and ultimately look to give back to the NEF and future New Entrepreneurs.
Rob Runge, NEF Fellow 2012
“I feel extremely well equipped to start a new venture”
Through NEF I wanted to be challenged to learn how to start and scale a business and to extend my network. My expectations have been well and truly surpassed. This year has been an incredible experience. I have been exposed to the challenges and opportunities an entrepreneur faces. I feel extremely well equipped to start a new venture in the future. The most special, but perhaps the most intangible aspect of the year has been the reinforced entrepreneurial spirit within me and my peers. Thank you very much to all our sponsors for making this possible.
Rory Bate-Williams, NEF Fellow 2012
“I have developed the skills, network and determination to build a big business”
I have learnt more in one year with the NEF than I could have learnt anywhere else. I have been exposed to all levels of the business and have witnessed almost every business situation. I feel it would be impossible to achieve the same breadth of experience in any other career path. After a year with the NEF, I understand more than ever the importance of establishing large businesses to create jobs and generate wealth. Over the past year I have developed the skills, network and determination to make this happen.
Kathryn McGeough, NEF Fellow 2012
“We now have the necessary technical skills and emotional resilience to become successful entrepreneurs”
I have found the NEF an invaluable experience which, I have no doubt, has helped me to develop the skills, knowledge and network necessary to be a successful entrepreneur. Choosing to be an entrepreneur is more than a career choice: it is a lifestyle choice. NEF has ensured that we are readily prepared with the necessary technical skills and the emotional resilience which are both vital in an entrepreneur’s world. During my placement, I have taken on a large amount of responsibility and dealt with unrelenting pressure. I have also had the guidance and support from my CEO and my career coach provided by NEF. I have been given the freedom to learn to fall in a safe environment where minimal damage has been inflicted, and then pick myself up again. My career coach has given me endless support, understanding and motivation to help me develop into the leader I want to become. I couldn’t have done it without her. My year with NEF has ensured that my choice to move from the banking sector to the entrepreneurial world has been one that I will never regret.
James Vardy, NEF Fellow 2012
“I’ve learnt there is no shame in failing. Keep going, learning and doing!”
The NEF has given me so much. Here are the highlights: the realisation that entrepreneurship is a viable career path; there’s no shame in failing; you don’t have to retire to corporate life if it all falls through; never give up; keep going, learning and doing. Before NEF, I hardly knew anyone who was starting a business. Now the majority of my network is made up of entrepreneurs. I have the feeling there’s going to be a lot more support when business no.3 takes off! In some ways, I now feel duty bound to grow a big business. I definitely feel a weight, a pressure, on my shoulders to deliver. But, I know there is also the help and opportunities to make it work. Pressure is good. It’s driving me forward.Thank you sponsors, course leaders, Joe Cohen and Seatwave for taking a risk on me, the speakers, and my NEF peers for a year which I’m sure will be one of the biggest catalysts in my career as an entrepreneur.
Jason Malone, NEF Fellow 2012
“We have formed a support network that has a vast amount of collaborative potential”
This year has been invaluable. I have never felt more prepared or confident on my journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur. The team has delivered more than I had ever expected and the course went from strength to strength throughout the year culminating in several months of in depth and extremely useful sessions. Being surrounded by such a talented and motivated group of people has been paramount to the foundation’s success. Both my fellow members, and the NEF team, have proven inspirational people and with such a varied set of skills we have formed a support network that has a vast amount of collaborative potential. This network will only grow in number and strength as future candidates join and develop throughout the year. Thank you to everyone who has made this possible. I am now a member of a thriving start-up and hope that my own ventures prove the value of this foundation in the near future.
Jake Higgins, NEF Fellow 2012
“We have all become good friends and each other’s most loyal supporters”
I believe the true value of NEF is that it accelerates the learning process for budding entrepreneurs. The level of experience and knowledge I have now, compared to one year ago, is incredible. Moreover, it fortifies your entrepreneurial ambition while providing you with a sense that anything is possible. All of the group have become good friends and have huge confidence in one another. This network will continue to be a melting pot for new business for years to come. If I had not done the NEF, I would be significantly less prepared for running my own business. I could not recommend this programme highly enough.
Simon Phelan, NEF Fellow 2012
“The most worthwhile year of my life to date”
Describing the NEF as life-changing is an understatement. I have been accepted into the Sandbox Network, the foremost global community of extraordinary young achievers below 30; have been nominated as the second ever Irish candidate for the World Economic Forum Young Global Shapers (selected candidates announced in September), and I am now looking at an opportunity with my host company which seems like the stuff of fairy tales for someone aged 23. NEF has given me the opportunity to learn from the best, build a vital support network, and has ignited a greater entrepreneurial spark in me than I ever knew existed. It’s been the most worthwhile year of my life to date
Josh Savinson, NEF Fellow 2012
“We’ve turned a fantastic vision into a reality”
Thank you to all the sponsors and anyone else who has supported NEF over the past year. You have helped turn a fantastic vision into a reality, and for that I, and all my fellow NEF participants, will be eternally grateful. It has given me a fantastic opportunity which a couple of years ago I would not have deemed possible. Over the course of the year I have grown as a person, picked up a plethora of valuable skills and most importantly been inspired. I now have started a business of my own, which would not have been possible without NEF.
Kevin Robinson, NEF Fellow 2012
“A life changing experience”
NEF has provided me with the necessary education to start and grow a large business. Being given the opportunity to work with a leading entrepreneur and CEO has given me the skills needed to manage a large business and opened up a priceless network for me going forward. The NEF has been a life changing experience. It fills a real need for young entrepreneurs to give them the skills & education to build a large business. I cannot speak highly enough of the NEF concept and I hope that this will continue moving forward to ensure that other young entrepreneurs are also given the opportunity to learn and gain the same exposure that I have.
Gordon McQuoid, NEF Fellow 2012
“A tremendous platform to learn and grow as an entrepreneur”
I appreciate there are a number of sponsors and people behind the scenes who have made this year possible. I am extremely grateful to all those who have helped make this year a success. The New Entrepreneurs Foundation has been a tremendous platform to learn and grow as an entrepreneur. The experience and network I have gained on this programme are priceless. I feel extremely privileged to be part of this superb programme. I am now embarking on my own entrepreneurial journey with my start up the Jobs in Network and feel better equipped and supported having been through the last year.