First step and belief

Darshi Withanage

Faculty: Lord Ashcroft International Business School
Department: Economics
Course: BSc (Hons) Business Economics
Category: Business

15 May 2015

In life it is important that we start believing in ourselves, and grab the opportunities that come along. So this year I decided to enter The Big Pitch. This was my very first step to being an entrepreneur.

Since I’m on a student budget I choose the Start-upLlab to shoot my one-minute video. Since I didn’t have any video equipment I loaned all of these items from the Media Lab which is located in Coslett building on out Cambridge campus (first floor and open to anyone who studies at ARU). I had to do 81 takes before I finalised the video and I managed to land a place through judges’ votes. All together there were 27 finalist this year.

The next step was to learn about how to write a business plan and do a presentation, etc. We had this three-day boot camp where we get to see other participants; that was a great opportunity.

So on the last day of boot camp it was presentation practice. I must say I didn’t do quite well. But then once I got home I started practising my pitch and I didn’t stop practising until Wednesday morning. I was excited and nervous at the same time.

On the long-awaited Wednesday I presented my idea in front of panel of judges and visiting PhD students from France. I must say that it was actually a different experience. I did manage to do a very smooth presentation. Apparently everyone was very pleased it, and some of the French students came to me once I finished and congratulated me. I felt like a celebrity because on that day where ever I went I saw strangers approaching me and saying ‘I was in that room when you presented and it was really good presentation’. Lucky for me that was the exact same day that they were going to announce who is going to finals. So in the evening all of us went to the venue, the tramp depot. And they said this year they selected seven finalists – and I was one of them.

Even though I didn’t wear an armour and sword, inside I was fighting my own battle… So I would like to say give 100% when you do something. It does not matter whether you fail or succeed when you are taking your very first steps. All that matters is doing the right thin, putting in the effort and especially believing in yourself.

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re right” Henry Ford

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