We are about to start using video interviews as an integral part of our screening process at the New Entrepreneurs Foundation. We have done this in order to increase significantly the number of people we can see (albeit virtually) before making an initial shortlist. As we are about to open applications for this year's group of New Entrepreneurs Foundation students, I thought it would be helpful to provide some tips on how to do a good video interview.
What a long way we have come. I can remember when we administered the first £1million. It seemed like a huge milestone. It seems like only yesterday we had provided loans to 5,000 businesses and now we have passed the 10,000th milestone. We should be very proud of what we have achieved, but there is still a long way to go...
Realising the entrepreneur within could be the act of turning your passion or hobby into a business, spotting a gap in the market and fund-raising to fill it, or coming up with a new way of working or product line for a company in which you're an employee. The entrepreneurial instinct, I believe, is in everyone - the only thing that differs is what you decide to do with it.
While working as a consultant in London a few years ago, I remember it as a "suit city" like New York. However, over the past two years, a lot of investment has been committed to change this - as evidenced by the Sirius Programme. This shows that the British government is taking this movement sirius-ly and will support its growth over the coming years.
The one thing I'd wish I'd known starting university is how important your network is. When it comes to finding jobs or potential opportunities this is essential. It can mean that if you don't have the right grades someone can vouch for you on the inside. Most people just need a chance to show what they can do and sometimes a quick word from a friend can be that chance.
Where are we now, and where are we going? Twenty or fifteen years ago we could rely on mainstream institutions to answer these questions for us. Westminster, Fleet Street, Big Business - they told us what the good life really meant, and how to live it. Yet fast forward to 2013 and these are no longer the bedrocks of society; their legitimacy sapping in the wake of perpetual scandals, their decline accelerated by the worst economic crash in a century.
In early September, 36 eager young aspiring entrepreneurs gathered at a location in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, to start their year long journey learning about entrepreneurship. The cohort is the Class of 2014 specially selected to join The New Entrepreneurs Foundation programme from nearly 1000 applicants.
At the first opportunity I left teaching to fulfil my enterprising aspirations. Along with my husband, we designed and built a small guesthouse to the highest possible Failte Ireland standard. A cookery school was opened, which plans on helping recession hit home cooks to reduce their weekly grocery bills and reduce mealtime stress.
Obviously these ideas are nothing new (hello Karl Marx), but personally I think he's spot on about the apathy and disenchantment felt by the public about a political system that seems to serve the few, not the many and that he's got his finger on the pulse of potent frustration among the electorate in the UK and indeed much of the Western world.
The BBC may have claimed the flagship role in the public eye, but the shamelessly geeky digital and technology startups that shared their communal spaces impressed the most. This is no token effort at Northern development, potential for investment is very real and great things are already being accomplished in digital content production and user experience development.
Every good business knows that you can never let a crisis go to waste. To turn this crisis into our opportunity we must, like Mr Meyer and his fire station, start from the basics. The first flagship and most daring policy of an entrepreneurial public sector would be making Britain the best place on earth to start a new business.