WHILE many of us began adjusting to life under lockdown earlier this year, Masters student Neville Glean used the time to put his business plan into action.
After several years working as a digital imaging technician and video editor for a London-based media company, on brands such as Vodafone, BMW, IHG and McLaren, Neville decided he wanted to branch out on his own – but needed the business acumen to back up his big ideas.
The 25-year-old returned home to the North East and joined the University of Sunderland’s Master of Business Administration (MBA), graduating this week during the Winter Ceremonies with a first-class Distinction.
During his course, and while studying in the early days of lockdown, Neville tapped into support from The Enterprise Place, the University’s business support facility, which gives access to their co-working office space in Hope Street Xchange, the University’s centre for enterprise and innovation.
Neville’s idea is to create a digital data-handling platform for film content, which he says will control the data workflow from film creation to delivery, bringing the polish of post-production techniques onto the production set – thus allowing clients to see their finished work quicker and allowing more creative control.
He said: “I had been working in the film and media industry for a couple of years and in that time, I had no business experience, so decided to look for ways to improve my knowledge. After looking at Sunderland’s MBA course, I realised that this would be a really great way for me to begin my learning process and start my journey into the business world.
“During my first term, the team from The Enterprise Place came into our lecture and talked to us about they how can help support entrepreneurial ideas; that was the start for me.
“Through their support I’ve set up IDS, a digital data-handling company for film and media productions, which will give clients more creative flexibility, by showing them a far more polished version of the film whilst they are still creating it. Nothing like this exists – I’m tapping into the latest technology which helps speed up the production process.”
Neville hopes to get IDS up and running in the new year, as he finalises some of his marketing and social media strategies.
Neville talks about his experience at University of Sunderland.
Jenny Westgate, UoS enterprise operations co-ordinator, said: “Neville has fully immersed himself into the Enterprise Place and become a very active member; a frequent workshop attendee constantly looking to learn and develop his business skills, alongside building relationships with other members.
“Neville’s business idea is something which is complex and will take a lot of research and development. However, his passion and motivation for the project will definitely allow him to succeed.”
Laura Foster, ERDF enterprise and internships manager, said the service had been contacted by a number of students with a potential business idea during lockdown.
“I think – as much as there are challenges in launching a business in the midst of a global pandemic – it’s brilliant that our students and graduates are not afraid to look for and seize new opportunities that emerge also as a result,” she added.
“We are delighted to be able to continue to provide workshops and one-to-one support, now virtually through our Enterprise Place and Digital Incubator offer, as well as seed-funding thanks to our ERDF Enterprise and Internships project and Santander Universities partnership.”
As he graduates this week, Neville, from Sunderland, says he enjoyed every minute of his degree, adding: “The university has amazing staff, who not only help you pass your course but also help you to create a future you want. I have received so much support for my ideas and the company I wanted to create.”
Dr Derek Watson, associate professor in Cultural Management, in the Faculty of Business, Law and Tourism, said: “Neville has certainly left his academic footprint, in terms of his motivation and willingness to embrace our inclusive learning culture.
“Like many of our current and perspective students, the MBA clearly accommodated Neville’s aspirations to acquire key subject knowledge and much-valued interpersonal skills. Such exposure has enabled him to establish his own successful business.”