We met up with young entrepreneur Robyn to ask her about her brand new company Innovators Hub…
So tell us about innovators hub and why you have created it?
Sure, last year I dropped out of college just before finishing my first year. I was studying a creative course, where I joined in hoping to use it as an opportunity to develop, grow and explore my skills. Mid-way, I began to feel unbelievably dissatisfied and quite frankly annoyed. I felt as though I was wasting valuable time and energy. Now, I’m not blaming the course itself, however I am blaming the systematic approach the course was taught in. During the process of the year I could feel my creativity being bent, twisted, and squeezed into a tiny box — a box that was aligned with each and every individuals’ in my class. We were standing alongside each other with identical projects, preparing ourselves to be examined and be told whether our innovative ideas, thoughts and approaches suited the systems idea of creative.
I wasn’t given the freedom to explore the industry I aspired to venture in to. So when I decided to drop out I began my search for opportunities within the city that would help me gain the experience I was looking for. Little did I know, I’d be confronted with a blank page and anything that was available was all the way down in London. It threw me a little, and it was an incredibly deflating experience — the lack of opportunities available for someone who wants to explore the creative industry and develop their skills, in a working capacity, is dire. Which I found particularly surprising considering I live in one of the most vibrant, leading creative cities in the UK.
There were bound to be others out there who have gone and will be going through the exact same experience as me and I didn’t want to accept that, which is why I created Innovators Hub. It is a platform that connects the next wave of creatives, those who are looking to develop and nurture their skills through experiences with the city’s leading businesses within the creative industry. Those who themselves are looking for fresh, disruptive and innovative people to join their team. Innovators Hub opens up a wide variety of different opportunities; internships, freelancing roles, space on our platform for exposure and a support network, to help people reach their full potential and discover themselves.
Whats your favourite thing about becoming an entrepreneur?
Exploring. Every day I’m discovering something new, whether that be about myself, other people, the industry, Liverpool as a city (I’ve been to places I didn’t even know existed) — I haven’t gone a day where I haven’t learnt something. That to me is priceless.
What have you learnt since leaving college and starting a business by yourself?
The world is my oyster.
I hate to sound too clichéd, but, the world is my oyster. Business is a funny old thing – you literally have the power to mould, create and produce anything that you want, with reasoning of course, and then from there, you spend every single day speaking about it.
There are jobs out there where qualifications are a necessity, I respect that, but to start a business from scratch (and I mean from scratch, I had no idea what I was doing) all you need to do is come with these three things: a challenge, your solution and willingness to learn.
No qualifications necessary. You won’t be graded at the end of this, you determine your own success and this is a journey that doesn’t end until you call the cuts.
Is there any reason why you wanted to start your business in Liverpool?
To be honest, it wasn’t that long ago when I was daydreaming about packing my bags and hopping on to a train heading down to London. I was in complete awe of the city — like many others I saw it is to be the ‘land of opportunities’.
Not until I began Innovators Hub did I fall in love with Liverpool. Everything about it, from the buildings to it’s undeniable cultural atmosphere, and most importantly the people within it. The city is thriving and there is such a strong sense of community here, that is something I hadn’t quite acknowledged before, and something I want to continue to be a part of.
And of course, Liverpool is one of the leading cities within tech and creativity, and is filled to the rim with incredible and extremely respected businesses who lead in the creative industry — the opportunities that we could open up here are endless (some of which will probably encourage people to travel up North).
Welcome to the new land of opportunities.
Have you got any advice for young entrepreneurs?
Argue with yourself as much as possible and challenge your ideas. Think “why would this be of benefit to people?” “I think my idea is brilliant and could change the world, why is no one agreeing with me?”
Teaching myself to reflect on the two sides of an idea has helped me understand why I’m doing what I’m doing and how it’s going to be of benefit to others. And essentially that is the heart of all of this.
Don’t spend your time trying to justify yourself to others. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time and energy explaining myself and trying to seek approval from others — but my age needn’t be a barrier nor should my lack of qualifications. I wouldn’t have chosen to do what I am doing if I wasn’t capable of carrying it through.
Mentors. Here is the thing, there are people out there who want to help people just like you. They want to invest in and help guide people who have goals, think big and who want to grasp all the opportunities they can get. They want to help you grow your idea into becoming reality. It’s just a matter of finding the right person. Find someone with a common ground to you, someone who you trust and someone who is blunt enough to say “that might not work” but will also be logical enough to come up with a “but if you did it like this…” suggestion. Once you’ve found them, simply ask them to be your mentor, the worst thing they can say is no.
Gaining different perspectives on your idea is key and also don’t be afraid of constructive criticism, it is incredibly valuable. In fact, get as much of it as possible then acknowledge the feedback you are given – then you choose whether you act on it or not.
And my last one would be, don’t take notes when you watch The Apprentice. Just don’t.
Looking for an internship in the digital/creative industries? Make sure you get in touch with Robyn @innovatorshub