With most students back in their hometowns during the summer months, July’s Propeller Network event focused on staff members. Enterprising is not just about starting a business – it’s about understanding, thinking like a business and learning how to apply skills. As such, we think enterprise skills should be integrated into the curriculum wherever possible.

Our speakers Hugh Roberts (Propeller), Poppy Waters (Mary & Milly, Enterprise Lecturer), Amy Newton (SPOT) and Joseph Buglass (on behalf of UNITEplus) talked to staff about how the various student services can be useful to themselves and their students.



Hugh Roberts started off events with an introduction to Propeller: UCLan’s enterprise & entrepreneurship support service for students, graduates and staff.

The service of has many great offerings, such as:

  • Mentoring – Ongoing 1:1 support from our experienced mentor team – both internal and commissioned specialists – to help pre-start and early stage business owners succeed.
  • Start-up funding – We have our own Propeller Enterprise Award where students can win up to £1,000 towards developing business ideas. We also support many external competitions and awards.
  • Incubation space The Propeller Hub offers free hot desk facilities for student entrepreneurs in a supported workspace. The soon-to-be-refurbished facility remains free for 6 months after graduation. Following that, there’s a small subscription fee for either a hot desk or dedicated desk.
  • Online Learning – The soon to be launched Flightpath platform will provide complementary support to Propeller’s f2f offer, helping budding freelancers through the early stages of business set-up and trading.
  • Events & WorkshopsWe run a host of courses aimed at developing the right mind set and skills for business. We repeat the events at different times in order to ensure people can pop in when they get a chance. Events are split into three categories:
    • Propeller Enterprise Programme – a series of practical themed workshops on key business topics, e.g. business ideas evaluation, basic business finances and marketing
    • Bite size Briefings – including cyber security, intellectual property and basic web site design.
    • Propeller Networking – monthly talks from external subject experts with the opportunity for students, graduates and staff to make contacts with local business leaders.

Rather than tooting our own horn, we were then joined by UCLan Graduate, Business Owner, Enterprise Lecturer and Propeller User Poppy Waters who did it for us!

Propeller User

Poppy provided a valuable insight into the support she has received from Propeller, in both setting up her own business and as a valuable resource to help her students improve their enterprise skills.

“If you’re thinking ‘can I use Propeller?’, for me it’s 100% yes. It’s more about how you can use it and where.” – Poppy Waters

Poppy continues to use Propeller, revisiting workshops for upskilling and refresher sessions. As a lecturer, she encourages students to use Propeller to help engage with the course, complete business assignments and develop awareness of the opportunities available to them.

To round off the Propeller segment, Joe Buglass explained how Propeller can act as an additional resource to help academics to bring enterprise activities into their curricula.  Examples included support for specific modules or larger enterprise challenge team based activities.


SPOT (Spark of Talent)

Amy Newton from UCLan’s SPOT (spark of talent) website discussed how students are already creating portfolios and gaining paid freelance positions with businesses in the area. Creating a portfolio on SPOT allows businesses to search you and get in touch if your skills meet their requirements. Great for creatives, SPOT can also be used for marketers, researchers, engineers, software developers and a whole host of others.

Benefits for Businesses

  • Register & upload opportunities free of charge
  • Portfolios are vetted for premium quality
  • Businesses make the first move so you do not receive unsolicited portfolios

Benefits for Students

  • Set availability so you are not inundated with work when busy
  • Add multiple portfolios for different roles
  • Receive paid industry work, business support & networking



To round the event off, our own Joe stepped in for Amine Melaine from UNITEplus. UNITEplus pairs students with businesses for a 140 hour placement in their industry. Better than regular work experience, these placements pay students minimum wage with accrued holiday pay (around £8ph together). What’s more, it’s at no cost to the business itself! It seems ludicrous not to make good use of the offering if you’re already doing a placement. Check out the eligibility criteria on the UNITEplus website.

Placements can include:

  • Video Production & Photography
  • Marketing
  • Social Media
  • Market Research
  • Graphic Design
  • Engineering and CAD



Interested in attending the next Propeller Network event? We have different guest speakers every 2nd Tuesday of the month. Register your attendance on our events calendar.