Pop Up Business School

YARLINGTON Housing Group organised for a company called Pop Up Business to run a two-week course for their residents.Pop Up Business, sounds like a get rich quick scheme and alarm bells rang in my head.

I decided that I would go along to see for myself what all the fuss was about. Set up in 2012, the enterprise has gone from strength to strength, moving away from grants and funding to become a business.

The write-ups are very good and all sound positive. Yet, being a proudly sceptical person, I still doubted the concept. I questioned why there would be a business that actively encouraged and aided others to start their own businesses.

Why would people give away their knowledge to others unless money was their motivator? There is no such thing as a free meal. In my role representing and supporting the community, I attended the first day. Many nervous faces, all sat waiting expectantly for the golden egg to be delivered and receive their epiphany. I looked around and could see the nerves in the room. Strangers coming together, in an attempt and hope to better themselves and enhance their lives. Some, too nervous to look up from their shoes.

Taking many in surprise and looks exchanged, many quite fearful, the learning began. Expecting to be sat in a dull school type environment for the next ten days made me lose any enthusiasm I may have been able to conjure. Within minutes, I realised this may have been one of the biggest misjudgments I had made.

Ten minutes in, the fear had been replaced by smiles and the atmosphere was one of a community centre at Christmas. With a very long, busy agenda planned, I was dubious how we would retain the information being given to us in a relatively short period. Again, I had underestimated the mentors assigned to educate and lead us. So many practical demonstrations and exercises meant that the information was being taught and applied in one foul swoop. Those struggling were shown again and again, until the information had sunk in our minds, deeper than the Titanic in the Atlantic Ocean. As much as the information was beneficial, the practical exercises in self confidence, self belief and achievement were far more productive. Simple (and very bizarre) tasks were given to us, that on the surface appeared ludicrous but after playing along, the message became clear. This type of visual and physical lesson, made us think. We questioned ourselves and what was holding us back – practical problems or were we our own worst enemies? Could we really achieve our own business dreams?

At the end of the first week, I have seen strangers become friends. Those with low self confidence were mingling, starting conversations and loudly participating in discussions. Dreams were slowly becoming achievable. Hopes were being nurtured. Confidence had risen so much that it was impossible to believe that I was sat in the same room as the first day.

As I finish my first week, I am inspired by what I have seen. I am in awe how the thoughts of others have now started to become reality. Any one of us can change our lives, if we just try. Suddenly my view of starting my own business is not one of why? But… why not?



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