Name: Will Ascott
Course: International Development with Social Anthropology and Politics
ABC Skateboarding offers quality, safe and affordable skateboard lessons to all ages, abilities and genders. The Norwich branch is the first franchise of ABC which started in St Albans five years ago. I aim to give new skateboarders the same passion I have.
How did UEA Student Enterprise help you?
UEA Student Enterprise helped me find funding sources and refine applications to these. Furthermore, having had several one to one meetings, I have a better understanding of accounting and my books are in shape. I look forward to working more with UEA Student Enterprise in the future, they've been a great help!
What worries did you have while setting up your business, and how did you overcome them?
I had a number of worries about starting this business, the biggest of which being publicity and getting enough customers to make money. UEA Student Enterprise has a vast array of contacts which have supported me, including the EDP. I had an article written in the paper and got a few more customers, a real help in those difficult early days.
What ignited the spark in you to start a new business rather than look for work from someone else?
I've had my fair share of jobs that don't enthuse me - retail and bar work being the main two. I've done my share of menial tasks for little pay and I feel it's now time to make my living doing something I truly care about. Skateboarding has been a passion of mine since the age of 8 and now there's the chance to earn good money engaging others in the thing I love so much.
What motivates you?
Seeing someone throw their arms up in the air, with a beaming smile as they land their first ollie. Skateboarding is about persistence and hard work to achieve something new. With so many youngsters glued to their screens, receiving instant gratification in video games, I think it's good for them to work hard at something for reward. Seeing their elation as they make this progress motivates me to keep pushing the skate school to give this experience to others.
What piece of advice would you give to university students who want to become entrepreneurs?
Being an entrepreneur isn't as taxing as you might think. You need to get your head down and work hard, especially during the early months. But, in my situation, this hard work doesn't feel so bad as going to work means going to the skate park to teach kids that have been waiting all week for your lesson. There are certainly peaks and troughs, but if you want it enough, it's a whole lot better than an unpaid internship in London!