Today, King’s Careers & Employability is talking about entrepreneurship with Kabir, a co-founder of Jumpstart. Read on to hear what it was like starting their business, what does being entrepreneurial mean to them and what advice they would give to students who are thinking of being entrepreneurs!
Tell us more about yourself and your company?
Hi there! My name is Kabir, and I set up Jumpstart with my co-founder Matthew at the start of this year. Jumpstart is the start-up graduate programme – we place exceptionally smart, hard-working graduates from top universities in commercial roles (or rather, non-technical) within London’s most exciting and high-growth start-ups. The aim of the programme is to provide graduates with the opportunity we never had as founders – to work in start-ups but have access to the training and support that a grad scheme provides.
Current graduates are much more independently minded than even a few years ago, and we want to provide them with a genuine alternative to the traditional corporate graduate scheme – but one that also provides the training and career progression that graduates need.
What was your career journey like?
I graduated from Oxford in 2016, and took the not particularly imaginative decision to join Monitor Deloitte as a Strategy Consultant that same year! Over the following years, I realised that a lot of my peers had started to work in start-ups in commercial roles and that a lot of the strategic advice we were giving to clients at Monitor was focused on employing platform business models, agile ways of working and using MVPs and prototypes as a way to compete with smaller more scalable companies. In other words – be more like start-ups to improve your business!
The other key observation Matthew and I had, was that it was quite difficult to actually find work in start-ups, as a lot of the recruitment is very fragmented and done through word of mouth.
All of these factors led us to founding Jumpstart earlier this year. We wanted to provide a viable alternative to traditional professional services graduate programmes which makes it easy for graduates to navigate the start-up world.
What do the words ‘being entrepreneurial’ mean to you?
Identifying some aspect of the world we live in, however big or small, that could either be done better or completely differently and having a vision for how you might actually implement it. I don’t think it’s about purely coming up with a new business. An employee of a large corporate, who sees the flaws in the way that company markets its product and comes up with a plan to fix it, is just as much of an entrepreneur as Elon Musk – even if the scale is completely different!
Interested in a career in entrepreneurship? Explore King’s Careers & Employability resources on Keats to get you started on your career journey! We have also launched our self-employment hub with pages full of interesting and useful content!
When working within the world of start-ups, is there something that has surprised you?
We were both probably slightly naïve when we started – and a result we were pretty surprised by the level of competition we were faced. We both thought ‘hey we have landed on a pretty new market opportunity’, but as we started our journey we realised pretty quickly that there were a lot of other companies trying to do similar things, or had tried to enter our market and failed.
The main thing we learnt from that experience was really focusing on ‘why us?’. How can we convince both students and start-ups that our skills and experiences mean we can make this business a success – which we are starting to do!
What is a valuable thing that graduates today are bringing into this sector?
From our experience, a lot of the graduates we have been interviewing at the moment are incredibly well-rounded. In the past, often people would focus on their technical skills (i.e. coding, data science) or commercial/design side of things. But we are increasingly seeing graduates with skills across both sides of the fence. This is something relatively new and really valuable to businesses – if you can understand how a product is built as well as the ways to sell it, you can provide a huge amount of value to early-stage start-ups looking to scale.
What advice would you give to students who are thinking about working in a start-up?
On the subject of advice – it’s really important that when you are looking for a network of people to advise and bounce ideas off that you keep this group of people relatively small, and be clear on why you are specifically asking them for advice. Everyone in the world will have an opinion on your business, even if they have no clue on the industry or market you are playing in. Seek out people who have been there before, and have expertise or experience not just in entrepreneurship but in the areas you are focused on (e.g. education, financial services, technology).
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