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Brave new world

By Chloe Donegan — November 07, 2012

In the past working for a start-up was considered to be a high-risk option. That was then.

Now, with banking bonuses uncertain and a job for life found only in history books, increasing numbers of graduates are reconsidering their options. Many have noticed that one respite from the lingering economic gloom can be found in Shoreditch. The flurry of tech start-ups that have established themselves around Old St in recent years has caused the area to be dubbed ‘Silicon Roundabout’; Britain’s tongue-in-cheek answer to the Silicon Valley.

However the entrepreneurial boom that is taking place here is no joke. In the UK, the digital economy  contributes more to GDP than for any other country in the G20.  According to BCG, this sector is expected to grow at a rate of 10.9% a year. In 2010 it was worth was worth £121bn, and is forecast to rise to £225bn by 2016. If working for a start-up is something you might be interested in, block out your diary – November is going to keep you busy. Below are a selection of events taking place this month that could help you to secure a new role.

What: ‘Silicon Milkroundabout’

When: 10th/ 11th November 2012

Where: Truman Brewery, Shoreditch

Who: Brought to you by the creators of Songkick, this ‘job fair for start-ups’ is a chance to mingle with some of the hottest UK startups (including MindCandy, Shazam & Onefinestay)

Why go: Moo have the business cards covered & Badoo are sponsoring the bar.

Last time 100+ Startups attended & 800+ jobs were up for grabs. Lots to like.


What: ‘Landing a job at a Startup’

When: Breakfast, Nov 30th 2012

Where: Clerkenwell, London

Who: Escape the City, & General Assembly

Why go: well for one – its free. But more importantly they’ll be covering the skills that start-ups are most interested in, how to position yourself,  & who’s hiring in London.


Who: New Entrepreneurs Foundation.

When: Applications open in Nov 2012 (Sep 2013 start date)

What: During a year long internship you will work closely with a successful entrepreneur and witness first-hand how they deal with all aspects of running a business. These internships are mainly with small or medium sized growth companies run by a dynamic entrepreneurial management team. See who the Class of 2012 have been placed with here.

Why apply: One way to get your foot in the door at a start-up but also an opportunity to see what life as an entrepreneur is really like.


Eyedea members with entrepreneurial aspirations of their own should keep an eye out for events like Seedcamp. These get-togethers are a chance to network with potential partners, woo venture capitalists and discuss your business plan with an older generation of entrepreneurs. The next one isn’t until 2013 but it’s certainly not just in London where the start-up community is thriving.

WhatStartup Summit

When: 14th November 2012

Where: Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh

Who: A Group of entrepreneurs with one mission: ‘to help businesses succeed’

Why: At this event sixteen successful entrepreneurs will share their thoughts on everything from early stage funding to ‘going global’, with networking or accounting skill sessions taking place over lunch. Be sure to stop by for haggis at Mums before getting the train home.

If the idea of becoming an Entrepreneur appeals but inspiration has yet to strike, Entrepreneur First – the scheme designed to turn graduates in to successful founders, may be the answer. They are specifically looking for exceptional people committed to building a start-up. If chosen they will help you to build a team, identify a promising project, provide you with office space, training, experienced mentors & access to their network of startups, investors and corporates. ‘By Christmas, you’ll be at decision point: how fast are you growing? Is this working? If so, we’ll help you raise money from some of Europe’s top investors. If not, we will help you into your next entrepreneurial career move; whether that be starting over with a new idea, joining one of the other EF teams, joining one of our Partners or working for a startup. Applications close 30th January.’

Provided you were under 25 on May 28th 2012, one way to get an idea off the ground is to apply for a Startup loan. This is a personal loan, which means if 4 or 5 people from the same company apply, all are eligible for an individual loan up to invest in their business. To qualify you are required to present your business proposal. Mentoring is provided both once you receive the loan and before you pitch to the panel. The average loan size is around £2,500. However there is no definite limit.

For those contemplating a venture, reports that Britain continues to teeter on the edge of recession can act as a major deterrent. Zoopla’s founder & CEO Alex Chesterman doesn’t think that this should be the case; ‘the current economic climate should not influence an entrepreneur’s enthusiasm in any way. A sound business idea is a sound business idea irrespective of the larger economic environment’.


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