helping students to develop the entrepreneurial mindset

Georgina Smith, Enterprise Officer, University of Sussex, England

This article was first published in 2022 in the Entrepreneurial Mindset Network eZINE Volume 5 no 1

In this interview Georgina explains the work she does to help students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset.

Georgina is a member of the University’s Careers and Entrepreneurship team supporting current students and graduates (up to 3 years after graduation) to explore their career options, develop skills and plan for the future.

She explains why she started the Sussex Entrepreneurship Podcast which is available from all podcast providers including Apple and Spotify.

Image credit: Pixabay

Can you explain your role as an Enterprise Officer at the University of Sussex?

I work in the Careers and Entrepreneurship team at the University of Sussex. My role as Enterprise Officer has a focus on working with current University of Sussex students and graduates (up to 3 years out). 

I run workshops and deliver one-to-one appointments to help students to think about working for themselves, this could involve exploring working on a freelance basis or founding a business or social enterprise. More widely, we also encourage students to participate in our events and attend one-to-one meetings if they want to understand more about the entrepreneurial mindset. 

It’s helpful for students and graduates to know how the mindset could change their approach to finding work but also how it could transform how they approach their studies and life in general. 

I also work to build relationships with business people, getting them in to speak and share their experiences with our students and graduates.

Why did you start the podcast series? Was it easy to get it off the ground?

Firstly, to reach more of our students and recent graduates, and to shout loudly about the support that’s available to them. Secondly, as a means of celebrating the achievements of our current student and graduate entrepreneurs, many of which have featured as podcast guests. Finally, as a means of getting the message out that there is an alternative to traditional employment. And for those who don’t feel that starting a business or working for themselves is right for them, there’s still something about the mindset of an entrepreneur which is likely to be useful to them in life. The podcast helps to broadcast that message to a wider audience. 

If you could interview anybody for your podcast, who would it be?

Just one? There are so many people I’d love to interview! Yvonne Bajela is definitely up there. Why? Yvonne founded Impact X, a venture capital firm focused on investing in underrepresented entrepreneurs across Europe. In 2020 she was named in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The variety. I can be on campus running a workshop or delivering virtual one-to-one support – helping students and recent graduates to develop their ideas and explore their options. The next day, I’m recording a podcast episode or sitting on a panel watching pitches and deciding which of our students and graduates will be awarded funding to help them to turn their idea into reality. 

I particularly enjoy helping our students and graduates realise that they can take steps to shape and build the future they want. With determination and hard work, barriers can be overcome.◼️

Press on the Spotify iicon opposite to listen to Georgina in conversation with Paul Coyle as they discuss the importance of the entrepreneurial mindset.