Resounding support from the area’s key businesses has secured a full schedule of speakers for Bournemouth University’s inaugural ‘Enterprise Café’ at the Festival of Enterprise on Saturday July 18 from 10am to 3pm.

To officially launch the free to attend event, Dorset-based entrepreneur, author, property investor and inspirational speaker, Steve Bolton will relay his fascinating ‘boom and bust’ story. From following stocks and shares at the age of eight, to seeing his businesses wiped out and then building a multi-million pound property portfolio, Steve has plenty of good advice to share.

Names secured include Georgina Hurcombe, from award-winning LoveLove Films, and Andy Martin, acting editor of Bournemouth Daily Echo. Georgina Hurcombe says: “We are really pleased to get involved with the Festival of Enterprise. Finding a ‘safe place’ where small businesses and start-ups can go to learn from others is not always easy and I believe this event provides the perfect opportunity.”

This new BU event will be supported by colleagues from the Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) and feature a day of ‘on the sofa’ sessions with highly experienced professionals from diverse sectors including digital marketing, accountancy, video production, cyber security, charity, and media.

Chaired by an interviewer, the 30 minute question and answer sessions will be hosted under different themes: creative, marketing, finance, cyber security and marketing. The structure of the day has been developed to focus on some of the key issues faced by SMEs and start-up businesses.  Audiences will be invited to pre-register for these short sessions which are scheduled throughout the day, during which there will be networking opportunities with local business development organisations. There will also be the chance to attend ‘speed dating’ style one to ones with business advisors.

Keith Pretty, a Lecturer in Business Development for IT at Bournemouth University, says: “This is a genuine opportunity to learn from others in the business world, so we hope business owners or those thinking about starting a business will come along, whether for an hour or for the day. People can come and go as they like. All we ask for is their time and to pre-register so we know numbers attending; there are no obligations on any level, it’s a free and open invitation.”

Interest in the new event has secured media partnerships with Daily Echo and Wave 105, both of which see the need to nurture entrepreneurship across the region.

To be held in the newly-completed five-storey Student Centre with panoramic views to the New Forest and Isle of Wight, Bournemouth University plans to make the Festival of Enterprise an annual event where entrepreneurs and academics can share experiences and give advice to young people, start-up businesses and local SMEs.

Another facet of the day is the ‘Enterprise Den’ based in BUs Kimmeridge House, where five teams of Year 12 students will work on a practical, guided activity to create a digital business. Individuals from both industry and the university will help to build their knowledge and skills, with prizes being awarded at the end of the day.

Anyone is welcome to attend both aspects of the event all of which is free of charge but are required to pre-register at

For a full schedule of speakers and times throughout the day please visit the website.