If you want to make your ideas happen, you need to get connected.
You can find, add or start a group right here today.

The Make Your Mark Connect Blog will feature posts on getting connected,
starting up a group, and getting your ideas started.

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Friday, 30 March 2007

Connect Me Update!

Our Connectors have been busy working with Alex and Claire to find their ideas connections and contacts.

Alex has been speaking with David McQueen, Heather Wilkinson and Claire Geddie about finding distribution partners. Oli Barratt has also offered his Connector services to mentor Alex and his idea.

Claire has been put in touch with a fantastic hotel in Scotland to develop some sales for her Scottish Gifts company by Andy Lopata. Also, Heather Wilkinson has introduced Claire to Scots in London, which is a networking group with many Scottish owned and themed businesses as part of it.

More to follow soon!...

Monday, 19 March 2007

Let's get Connected!

Our Make Your Mark Connectors are a group of extremely well connected entrepreneurs and network leaders, based all around the country.

They are here to provide connections and contacts to people who want to make things idea happen. In order to get this rolling, we've selected three young entrepreneurs with brilliant ideas to benefit from the might of the Connectors contacts.

Alex Gatton wants to make Delahaye the Dog, his wonderful 'pop cartoon' teaching young people all about morals, bigger than Mickey Mouse.

Claire Smith runs Caledonian Gifts, which provides a range of locally sourced Scottish gifts and products to companies and individuals.

Stephan Michaels runs cobuywithme.co.uk, which is an innovative, worldwide service to help people share the cost of buying property.

Over the next month these three entrepreneurs will get the full support of the Connectors in opening the doors and making the contacts needed to take their projects to the next level.

More to follow soon on how this grows!

Thursday, 08 March 2007

International Women's Day

Last night I attended a great event hosted by CIM to coincide with International Women's Day. I took my seat alongside fellow female marketeers and listened to three inspiring speakers. First up was Polly Cochrane, Marketing Director for Channel Four, who shared the company vision to 'be first, make trouble and inspire change' - a worthy sentiment. She shared an impressive case study of the launch of Skins - a new programme aimed at 16-24 year olds - and told how through innovative marketing they had attracted 250,000 users to the www.channel four.com/skins website and had more than 20,000 friends on Myspace. I was left feeling inspired at the power of social networking but also feared that without advertising (which here at the Make Your Mark campaign we don't do) we could never hope to reach that number of young people (but we'll try!).

Next up was Tamara Gillan, founder of SPF15 - 'the mindset marketing company'. She set up her agency two years ago and said that the journey to being your own boss was not for the faint hearted. One of her key tips was to market, market, market and network which she certainly did tonight - after the panel discussion she was in very high demand by fellow networkers. When I finally caught up with her she was keen to take up an offer of becoming a Girls! Make Your Mark ambassador, in order to use her experiences to inspire other women to start their own business. And she certainly wasn't afraid of people connecting with her - her business card was in every delegate’s goody bag! 

Last but not least was Daniel Nabbaro, CEO of www.figleaves.com, which is now the second biggest lingerie website in the world. His story of becoming his own boss was one which should be shared and learnt from. In short his first business was very successful and he had the option of retiring at a very early age. Business two flopped big-time (!) and business three was figleaves.com. Success can follow failure! He says he isn't a gambler but that he is a risk-taker, and that America is much more understanding of failure than we Brits.

Upon giving me his business card he said that he prefers people to phone him and that email is overused - a sentiment which I've sure many share but few practice. In fact I read an opinion piece in the Guardian earlier this week by a freelance journalist who gave up email. He put an auto reply on his email saying I no longer use email -please phone or send me a letter instead. Whilst it was liberating he admits that he now has an 'emergency account' for his freelance work. It seems few of us can break free from the clutches of digtal technology and the connections it brings us - and indeed few would actively choose to.

Hannah - PR & Marketing Manager, Make Your Mark campaign (hannah@enterpriseinsight.co.uk)

Friday, 02 March 2007

Open for coffee!

I went along to a really good network yesterday. Not knowing what to expect at all, I arrived at Esprit on Regents Street at 10.00am to find a queue at the door!! About 50 - 60 entrepreneurs and VC's were waiting to go up to Starbucks on the 1st floor where Saul Klein http://localglobe.blogspot.com/ had organised the first Open Coffee Club (http://entrepreneur.meetup.com/1056/).

There was a really great buzz and some informal pitching - I can imagine some really good connections came out of it!

It is on every Thursday morning and I will definitely be recommending it to others!

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Youth Business Development Competition (YBD)

We were sent this notice today from the Skoll Centre.....

The MBA students and YBD committee of Oxford University's SAID Business School have just launched this competition. 

It represents an opportunity for youth between 16-21 from all over the globe to try their skills at developing business concepts of social benefit. One-page submissions submitted by groups of 3/4 need to be in by March 31st along with the application form.

Shortlisted candidates will then receive personal support and mentoring from individual MBA students from May to the end of July, to help them expand their concepts into viable 7-10 page plans.

The eventual winner will be awarded £2000 of 'seed capital' money to launch their ideas in practice. I'm sure in some cases, the funds available might cover
all the project's needs - we're looking for simple but doable ideas with clear community benefit. 

For further information, you can also check out the competition website

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Real and virtual networking!

Hey, we came across a really interesting event!

European Young Professionals (EYP), www.eyplondon.org, launched its London chapter on January 10, 2007 with a real life and Second life event!

The physical  event, held at No. 5 Cavendish Square, was attended by 550 young professionals from 45 countries and the virtual event in Second Life (www.secondlife.com) was attended by more than 200 EYP members from all over the world. The people in both venues interacted, chatted and danced with each other, thanks to a webcam installed at the venue. Both the London and the Second life attendees enjoyed complimentary Cobra beer and Sputnik Vodka.

Nick Jonsson, communcations director and a founder of EYP says, "The EYP vision is to be innovative, supportive, diverse and to offer a unique, valuable networking experience to all members of EYP London". Nick added, “We could not believe the interest for the launch event. We thought that we could attract lots of professionals but never people from 45 countries.”

Are you addicted to Facebook?

I signed up to Facebook last autumn when they opened it up to all users, not just students with an ac.uk email address. I never really got into using it much though. Then in the last week, I've suddenly had a flurry of messages from people I know adding me as a friend to their facebook page. It's funny how that happens. Now I can see how people get quite addicted as I've just spent a lost afternoon browsing, poking people and making new connections. It's massive - some people have 10,000s friends. So, is Facebook the best social networking site out there?

Thursday, 08 February 2007

Shoot!

Do you want to become the next Steven Spielberg? Now's your chance! Here are two competitions for you to enter:

1) From tomorrow, budding film-makers can post their shorts at MySpace Movie MashUp, a competition organised by MySpace, Vertigo Films and Film 4. The winner will get to direct a feature-length film with a £1m budget, which will be released in cinemas in 2008. Any British resident, regardless of past film experience, can participate. The deadline for submission is April 27. More information on the MySpace Movie MashUp page.

2) Also, there is still time to enter our Make Your Mark in Film competition. The UK’s best young film-makers are being encouraged to enter a unique and ambitious collaborative competition to make a ten episode full length feature film. Each episode will be shot by different teams of young filmmakers across the UK and the film will premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2007.

Teams of 18-30 year olds have until 12 March 2007 to apply for the production phase of the Make Your Mark in Film competition, which is run by the Make Your Mark campaign and CobraVision. The initiative is designed to encourage young people in their teens and twenties to have ideas and make them happen. Full details and entry form on the Make Your Mark in Film website - and you can find other people to work with on the Make Your Mark in Film MySpace page.

Wednesday, 31 January 2007

How to attract opportunities....

We held a Networking Masterclass for young professionals at Lexis PR yesterday and invited uber-networker Oli Barrett to share his secrets. I learnt a lot - this is what he said:

The point of networking is to attract opportunities. Rather than spend lots of hours, money and effort chasing opportunities, you really want to get into the position where you attract interesting opportunities. There are three ways to do this.

1) Raise your profile

2) Create goodwill

3) Keep in touch

There are all kinds of ways to raise your profile - the simplest way is to go along to more events, speak at events, write articles or a regular column, or a blog, get in touch with people you want to get to know and ask if you can pick their brains about a particular topic over a coffee. Keep doing these things and you will start to get known. The important thing is that raising your profile needs to go hand in hand with creating goodwill. It's no good getting well known if everyone things you're a bit of a wally.

To create goodwill, get into the habit of sharing useful information. When you read an article that you've enjoyed, don't keep it to yourself. Think about who else would find it interesting and send the link in an email - do it straight away - it only takes 20 seconds. Keep you eyes open for gems, nuggets, intelligence and share it with people you've met. Let people know about interesting events and invite them along as your guest.

Be a connector. Make introductions between people who you think would benefit from knowing each other. Again - just a simple email to broker the introduction - then leave them to it.  Obviously make sure it's always a relevant article, invite or introduction. People will really appreciate the thought you've put in and remember you for it. You will become known as a helpful, generous, connected person who passes on useful information - people will always be delighted to hear from you.

Generating goodwill also gives you a great reason to keep in touch with people. Sending people an email to say 'good to meet you, let's keep in touch' is a waste- it just clogs up the in-box. However, an email with a useful nugget attached is a much better way to maintain contact - or re-establish contact with people you have met in the past.

Another way to keep in touch with lots of people is to host an event - it can be a simple get together in a bar - invite a mixture of people you have met so they can network with each other. Oli does this once a month and uses Speednetworking to get people talking. There are lots of light touch ways to keep in touch too - I heard of one company that sent each of their clients a lottery ticket when the jackpot reached £5million.

Email and phone calls are obviously the best ways to keep in touch and Oli had some quirky techniques for both of these. Here is one very simple tip - if you send someone an email and they don't respond. Go back to your sent box and forward the exact same email but put at the top in a different colour type Dear x, did you get a chance to read this email below, Regards x. Leave it at that. Don't send a separate new email because they will have to hunt for the original one. Just send them a prompt - it works every time.

The key point to remember is that 80% of opportunities come from people you already know. So if you raise your profile, generate good will and keep in touch, opportunities will be beating a path to your door! If you've got any comments, tips, ideas or stories on this, post them here....

Thursday, 25 January 2007

Money, £££, Dosh...

We've just found that the Government is offering grants between £250 and £7000 to fund for local Networks for young people up to the age of 19.

Funding criteria includes:

  • Achieving Economic Wellbeing
  • Mentoring projects
  • Activities that help children and young people maximise their potential and develop skills for adulthood, for example:
  • Self advocacy skills programmes

You can find out more at http://www.everychildmatters.gov.uk/strategy/localnetworkfund/

If anyone's planning to apply or has applied, let us know...

We're reading...

Russell Davies does a coffee morning
Innocent do lovely drinks, and a cheese club
Business Bricks do good chunks on business
Howies do cool clothes, cool words
Johnnie Moore does 'marketing' but not as you know it
CanDoCanBe do home business for women
Daily Networker from Oli Barrett. Uber Connector
Times Enterprise Blog by Andrew Stone @ the Times

Striding Out Blog by Heather Wilkinson to make big strides in business