Robert Conway

Robert Conway

How did you hear about the Business School?

I first heard about the Business School through my undergraduate degree programme BA Environment and Business in the School of Earth and Environment. This programme had split modules between the Business School and the School of Earth and Environment and included modules in Finance for Small Business, Entrepreneurship in theory and practice and Innovation to name a few.

Why did you choose the Business School?

As I had been at Leeds for 4 years previously, I knew the Business School was very good. I also knew the standard of teaching was excellent and more importantly that the academic staff recognised the hard work of their students. However, the main reason I choose to do my masters here is due to the enterprise strategy that is in place across LUBS and the University. After experiencing this through a student society, Enactus, I knew that the Business School actively supported enterprise and entrepreneurship. I have since won the Enterprise Scholarship which proved to me that I had made the right choice.

What appealed to you about the course? What elements of the course inspired you?

I am passionate about entrepreneurship and enterprise. When I heard that the Business School was starting a new MSc programme in Enterprise, I knew it was the right programme for me. MSc Enterprise has a perfect balance between academic work and practical application as the Leeds Enterprise Centre, the Careers Centre and the Business School work together to assist young entrepreneurs in creating new ventures. The academic staff are also second to none and they provide material that is interesting and very current to the field.

What is the best part of your studies here? What are you enjoying the most?

Personally, I am really enjoying learning about new venture creation and the opportunity and challenges that surround it. It is brilliant to come out of the classroom and then have the opportunity to put what I have learnt into practice, test out the theory in practical application.
The lectures are also really interesting. Not only do we have the excellent teaching of the Leeds Enterprise Centre and Business School staff, we constantly have guest speakers that come in to talk to us who come from a host of different sectors - they really add another element to the course.

Tell us about the business you have set up and why you chose that industry.

Our company is called TourOutdoor, a student tour company that runs guided tours to cultural and historical locations all across Yorkshire and further afield, we specialise in creating unique tour packages to places that are hard to reach but incredible to experience. Our tours range from historic railway journeys in the Yorkshire Dales, guided tours of impressive castles and everything in between! We decided to focus on the travel sector for two main reasons, the first being we saw a gap in the market for student tours that were specific to the student market. Secondly, both Andy and I have a passion for travel and showcasing what the UK has to offer, its history, culture and architecture are fascinating and we offer the tours to prove it!

What support did you get in setting up your business?

The help from the University has been fantastic. We won both the Enterprise Scholarship and the Proof of Concept fund which has really helped us get our business off the ground. If you have a good idea and show passion and interest, there is so much support out there for you.

How is the business going so far?

TourOutdoor is going great. We are only a few months old but have already taken around one hundred people to some amazing places. In that time we have moved into a new office, made some great contacts and we are planning an optimistic expansion to other campuses.

Would you recommend other students setting up their own business?

My advice is don't spend too long planning every little scenario when starting a business as things change so fast in the beginning. At one point, you need to just create a minimum viable product and just get selling. Most importantly, use the network and opportunities you have whilst at University. This University is like a giant start up incubator, there are so many opportunities out there whether that be the Business School, Careers Centre or SPARK to name a few. You just need to look and listen and apply for all the support you can get!