Published on 26 November 2020
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.
He 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 stemmed from his fascination of the film and TV industry and media production. Creating a digital data handling platform for film content, which the 25-year-old says will control the data workflow from film creation to delivery, bringing post-production onto the production set. This then allows clients to see the end results of their products quicker, giving 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 came up with a potential business idea. 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 a 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.”
He added: “During these difficult times, it is hard for anyone to maintain a strict working pattern, so I used this time to mind-map some new ideas and pick which direction I wanted to take my business in. After the completion of my dissertation, I developed a keen interest in Virtual Production, and I am currently looking into ways of applying it into my business.”
Neville hopes to get IDS up and running in the new year, as he finalises some of the marketing and social media strategies.
Jenny Westgate, 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 explained. “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 they 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.”
The three-day online Winter Graduation celebration event will take place from Wednesday, November 25 and students can join at https://www.sunderland.ac.uk/class-of-2020-winter/
The Internships and Enterprise project is receiving up to £3,326,399.02 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, European Regional Development Fund funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding