Introducing our new Entrepreneur in Residence: George Neris

Posted by pm357 at Apr 30, 2018 03:10 PM |
We are pleased to welcome a new addition to the University of Leicester School of Business (ULSB) Entrepreneur in Residence team – George Neris.
Introducing our new Entrepreneur in Residence: George Neris

George Neris

George is a social entrepreneur and intellectual property solicitor. His vision is to foster creativity and inspire an entrepreneurial spirit in everyday people. He does this through his company artFix which offers a creative working space for people to learn new creative skills, work and develop partnerships, and present their creative output.

Rachel Wrigglesworth, Business Development Co-ordinator at the School of Business, sat down with George over coffee to find out more about his journey as an entrepreneur and what advice he would give to someone trying to kick start a new business idea.

Why did you decide to apply to become an Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Leicester?

I believe it’s important for an entrepreneur to regularly step back to review themselves and their business, and to make time to learn from others. So I see this role as a learning opportunity for me – there’s a lot I can learn from being asked seemingly simple or ‘silly questions’, and from pushing myself to rethink the language I use when giving advice. I am also enthusiastic about contributing to the development of others and their entrepreneurial ideas. ULSB has a reputation for its critical approach to Marketing which fits my own understanding, so I’m excited to be partnering with the School in this way. I am convinced that we need to rethink our marketing, business ethics and practices for moral reasons, but also for our business sustainability.

What will you be doing as an Entrepreneur in Residence?

I aim to enable and empower. Although practically it will involve answering questions and sharing my experiences, ultimately I want our discussions to give those seeking to start their own business, the confidence to take the plunge and make their ideas happen.

What does being an entrepreneur mean to you?

It’s all about learning a lesson. In order to survive, an entrepreneur needs to be open to the world’s answers to their questions. An entrepreneur needs to be a ‘supply-sider’, rather than a ‘demand-sider’, meaning not asking people what they want, but rather showing them what they need - Apple is a good example of this. Being an entrepreneur is having a good idea and persuading customers that they need it – create the need for your product or service.

Why did you become an entrepreneur? How did it happen?

I had a successful career as a solicitor, which gave an excellent vantage point on life, but I realised that I was merely an observer – if there were things about the world I didn’t like I felt I had little scope to actually do something about it. Living in Greece when the Greek Crisis occurred, I realised we needed to act, which led to my first entrepreneurial venture – Greece’s first Fringe Festival in Athens 2009.

Rather than a top-down operation, when the government was crumbling, this was a way of working horizontally, bringing together over 1000 Greeks to express themselves and showcase their creativity. The Festival took over the capital for 2 weeks, across 30 venues. The following year, the Festival expanded to a month-long programme, and after its success it was clear that we needed to create a space throughout the year to house similar activity, which resulted in the setting up of ‘Vryssaki’. I am now based in London, where I founded artFix (the UK version of Vryssaki), which operates as a combination of a workspace, a learning centre, a popup venue and a coffeehouse.

How will your experience help with your role as an Entrepreneur in Residence?

I’ve been through every tiny step that it takes to create an enterprise. Yes, I have expertise as a solicitor and social entrepreneur, but I also have experience as a builder, plumber and electrician!

For example, when preparing for the Athens Fringe Festival, some venues had no water or electricity, so I had to take a hands on approach to make things work. To make things happen, you either need a lot of money, or people who really believe in an idea – at the start, we had the latter! I believe my experiences will aid me in supporting students, staff and alumni to know what they can take on themselves, when they need others, and understanding what it takes to thrive.

If you had to give one piece of advice to a budding entrepreneur, what would it be?

Knowing when to stop and when not to stop. Sometimes a business idea isn’t viable or you are not the right person for the job – you need to accept this and move on. But other times, you just have to keep going in order to succeed. Knowing the difference is really important as an entrepreneur and is something I am continuing to learn.

About the Entrepreneur in Residence scheme

Our Entrepreneur in Residence scheme allows all staff, students and alumni to meet with successful entrepreneurs, to find out how to run their own business. Appointments can be face-to-face, by telephone or Skype, and are 45 minutes in duration.

For more information about Entrepreneurs in Residence, or to book an appointment with George click here.