PhD student Alan Radbourne, 25, has done what many entrepreneurs struggle to in their first year of business - generate profit! Starting out with a meagre £1, he has now made over £20,000 in just one year. We caught up with Alan who will be speaking at the Student Enterprise Conference later this month!


NACUE: What did you study at Loughborough University?

Alan: I studied Geography and Sports Science. It was really good. I really liked Loughborough and I really enjoyed my course - it was excellent!

NACUE: For those who don’t would you describe the One Pound Challenge?

Alan: The One Pound Challenge was a business adventure to see what I could earn from one pound in one year. After graduating I didn’t have a job lined up. I did have a deferred place at Teach First, however I didn’t have anything for the year directly after graduating. Instead of getting a run of the mill job I thought I would give it a go and see what I could earn with one pound basically. Incidentally I actually found my pound on the floor. It’s always a nice little addition to the story.

The main aim was to see what could be achieved, just to be able to show people that you don’t need a large capital investment to start your business dream. So basically I spent the year just working on trying to develop my £1 coin, through investing it in various things, whilst working full time to try and earn as much as I could and to see what the potential was.

The whole aim was to earn myself a graduate salary, and 12 months later from just one pound…I finished up with just a little over £20,000 net profit, so that was my graduate salary.

NACUE: What was the toughest part for you?

Alan: Probably the toughest part was working by myself. I worked by myself all of the time. I was totally focused on how I could grow my pound. How can I earn more money? It was quite a difficult mind set to be in. When you’re struggling to find work it is difficult to get over that barrier. I think it was month nine when there was just absolutely no work available. I hit a bit of a brick wall, so that was tough. I suppose that’s where you’ve just got to be motivated, you’ve got to keep going, and by this point I had about £15,000 to invest. I just had to be a little bit reckless, put some money on the line and just try and break that £20,000 barrier.

NACUE: What made you want to get involved in the SEC?

Alan: Mainly because I want the story to spread about my journey. I want to tell people that it’s possible to set up your business with as little as a pound.

I think the Student Enterprise Conference is a fantastic event because it brings together people from across the country. It is a great opportunity for me, not only to inspire people with my journey, but also to be able to network, meet some interesting people and see what kind of future things can come from that.

NACUE: What do you want people to come away with after listening to you speak at The SEC?

Alan: I would want [attendees] to have a better appreciation of what’s actually required to start a business. I think so many people get bogged down with thinking that they need a huge financial input to start their business, or that they don’t have the business acumen to set up their own business, but I’ve never studied business. I’ve never even done it at GCSE. I have no theoretical background to business whatsoever. Yet I’ve managed to turn £1 into £20k in a year, just through hard work, quite a lot of motivation and just common sense really.

I think it’s the type of stuff anyone can do if they put their mind to it, because if I can do it anyone else can - trust me on that one. I just want to inspire people with that. So they can just go away and feel empowered to make their own stories.

NACUE: Do you think there’s enough support for young people who want to start their own businesses?

Alan: I think the key is to support like minded people. There are some great organisations out there, like NACUE, that provide support. Universities I think are starting to switch on to the idea that enterprise, especially for their graduates is really important. But I do believe that there is more that can be done.

Fortunately, here at Loughborough, there is an enterprise department that really supports a lot of people. I think that networking and events like the Student Enterprise Conference are great. I really believe there is a real need for things like this and it’s great that international banks, such as Santander, are supporting young entrepreneurs like me.

Alan will be one of the plenty speakers at our Student Enterprise Conference with Santander at Liverpool John Moores University on 31st January - 1st February 2015. Tickets are available here!

It’s not to be missed!

Follow @TheSEC2015 #TheSEC2015 for updates!

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