For the next two weeks we are working with our partners at Microsoft UK to combine our unique approach to business startup advice, together with their unique and award-winning tablet and laptop Surface range. The team at Microsoft have transformed two ordinary shopping units in Brent Cross Shopping Centre and Bristol’s Cabot Circus Shopping Centre into Surface Dream Emporiums, where every great business idea starts with a doodle, complete with demonstration stations and tech experts.
Together, we’re helping mobile professionals, aspiring artists, photographers, musicians and people wanting to make their business idea a reality, get the advice and help they need to get going for free. We’ve even been using Microsoft’s tech ourselves all week and will be incredibly reluctant to hand it back when the two weeks are over! We’re also making sure that the attendees at our event can make the most of the equipment on offer. For example, in Brent Cross we have a fine artist from the former Yugoslavia called Sonya Radan, who is famous in her homeland for her bold and striking portraiture. However, in the UK she is much less well-known and looking for advice and help on how to increase exposure. Like many of the people we meet on our courses, Sonya is not particularly fond of computers and has very little experience of the online world.
Yesterday we taught Sonya and our other attendees how to build a website for free. Today, we showed her how to use social media to drive traffic to her website, how to find customers online and how to find conversations with other artists that she could get involved in and add value to. This afternoon, Sonya has completely taken the plunge as we challenged her to create a unique artwork digitally on the Microsoft Surface Book. Overcoming her initial fear, she was using the device in no-time, asking about other features and how to use it to create specific effects. With help from the in-store tech demonstrators, she created several artworks in a matter of minutes. You can see a livestream of her busy creating on our Facebook page. She took the plunge, she faced her fears and has proved to herself that technology is good for her business.
In Bristol one of our attendees is Fenella, a health coach turned power lifter who wants to help mobile business professionals stay healthy during their busy lives. She’s spent some time trying to decide what her business should be and what feels right to her, having tried beauty, medicine and being a makeup artist before realising that her passion was for health and wellbeing. We have seen this week how Microsoft’s tablets and adaptable Surface laptops can be used by budding entrepreneurs and it occurred to us that for Fenella’s business, visiting other professionals where they work, at their homes or at local parks, these devices would be ideal for managing her client database, keeping track of appointments, building her website and even recording and sharing video content of workouts for prospective clients. It’s increasingly clear that if you have a vision for your business there are mobile solutions to help you manage it and put what you learn on our courses into practice.
We’re looking forward to helping more of our participants get going, acclimatising them to digital technology and making their businesses a success. Together with Microsoft we have a massive opportunity in both Brent Cross and Bristol to make a difference. Make sure you follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to see how we get on.