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'Entrepreneurs create jobs'

George Hudson, founder of the York Entrepreneur Society speaks to Tom Williams about a road less taken. (Thumbnail credit Photo credit: ghspace.co.uk)

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Many students in their final year will be anxious about their future. For some the combination of a strong degree mark and host of extra curricular activities will be enough to secure successful employment, others will take the route of further education. George Hudson describes the trials of a third option, starting your own business.

Hudson, a former music student from Vanbrugh, found a passion for entrepreneurship early on and set up the York Entrepreneur Society after realising that other students were also 'interested in starting up their own businesses'.

The York Proms, his first business venture, was an ambitious plan to put on a "popular live music event with 3 stages, over 400 musicians to an audience of 2500". Hudson remarked that in planning for the concert he got very used to the answer "No, It's too over the top", but by the week of the event, 100 volunteers were signed up, and completed a successful dress rehearsal the night before.

However, despite overcoming problems in preparation for the event, an unpredictable turn of the weather turned potential profit into disaster. "Unfortunately, weather was not on our side and a spell of Yorkshire flooding cancelled the event two hours before the gates were due to open".
The flood caught the organisers off guard, who had not taken insurance out on an unexpected mid summer flood. Hudson described the venture as an "expensive ordeal", though assured that it was an 'incredible learning experience, trying to put on a concert of that scale.'
Putting bad experiences behind him, he was quick to join the 3.3% of self-employed graduates with a new venture. GHspace is a "commercial property for creative and new-media companies". He created the space as a venue, which would "run events" and conduct "entrepreneurial experiments and connect lots of successful entrepreneurs".

While many students find comfort in steady working hours and the wage security, he notes that he started the business because he would make a "terrible employee" as he likes "sporadically working some nights all the way through and some days not starting till lunch time".
On reflection, Hudson highlights the harder parts of being self-employed saying "you cannot take a day off ever. It's very hard to switch off because you are ultimately responsible for your customers experience and your employees pay check", though in his eyes these are necessary burdens and he maintains that "you can basically create your dream job".

His advice for future graduates of York comes from his own mentor US economist, Carl Schramm, who told him that "Entrepreneurs create jobs". He points out that "Running your own business is not for everyone because it really is full-time, but if it's something you want to do then do it, because ultimately it's entrepreneurs that create all jobs".

He says that decisions he regretted in the past often led him to a "different path that in the end is actually a lot better than the one you have planned."

At a time when job prospects are bleaker than they have been previously, Hudson has paved the way for a different approach to a career.
Hudson emphasises the importance of having a mentor, saying he was fortunate enough "to have a mentor at school, at uni and in my post uni teaching positions", which continue to be his "support network". He credits the careers department for exposing him to the many non-academic opportunities at York that allowed him to meet like minded people and fuelled his ambition for entrepreneurship.

It's Hudson's blend of strong ambition, clear vision and ability to learn from past mistakes that students at York can learn from.

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