Michael Ings has shown true entrepreneurial spirit by securing the first-ever BSc in New Venture Creation and Enterprise Management at the University of Essex.
While studying in Southend a normal day for Michael involved getting to his part-time job for 8.30am, going to a lecture at Essex Business School in the afternoon and then going home to run his own business and study for his degree.
“I could never have done all of that if I hadn’t been able to study at Southend. Being in Southend let me go to University while earning money by working and running my own business,” says the 22-year-old.
“I’ve now got all the experience I have built up from the business and working, combined with an academic qualification.”
Parts by Post is the company he set up at his Billericay home in his last year at South East Essex College. It specialises in supplying car parts to enthusiasts via ebay, mailorder, attending classic car shows and its website.
“Because the course in Southend was entrepreneurial I could see how the theory could be used and put into practice,” says Michael.
“For example, I could use what we discussed on accountancy practice and marketing strategies in my business straightaway.
“Also it was a great opportunity to make contacts in business, particularly overseas because of all the international students on the course. One student had a dad who owned a car parts factory in China and that offered me a really good connection.”
The degree from the University of Essex has also opened up opportunities overseas: “I’m interested in working in the Middle East and Scandanavia, but you need to be a graduate for any jobs in parts management overseas.”
Michael originally left school at 16 to take up an apprenticeship, but decided it was not for him after a year. He had always wanted to set up and run his own business so signed up for business courses at the then South East Essex College.
After enjoying himself at college and getting good grades, university was the next step and he is delighted to have secured a 2:1.
He is now considering what challenge to take on next. He is still running Parts By Post and working in parts management at a Land Rover garage.
But, he also has other business ideas: “The course was all about setting up and running small companies and it has definitely made me want to start a new business and run it fulltime.
“Any new business would be along the same lines and in the automotive sector. Last year, I also looked at making Parts by Post a limited company and that is something I could look at again.”
He hopes the Southend business community will get fully behind the courses running in South Essex.
“Southend has the highest number of start-ups in the country so it is a good place for the Essex Business School to be based.”