Spotlight on... Nadia Forde

This week we talk to Nadia, who is Programme Manager for Entrepreneurship within UCL Innovation & Enterprise. Here, Nadia tells us about UCL’s new Women in Enterprise network, the upcoming Venture Crawl, and how (at age three) she surprised her nursery teachers...

What is your role and what does it involve?

As Programme Manager for Entrepreneurship within UCL Innovation & Enterprise, I am in charge of helping UCL staff, students and alumni to start to think and act in a more entrepreneurial way, e.g. to be a little less risk averse, spot opportunities where others don’t and maximise their resources. I lead a small team and between the three of us we run a diverse programme of events, programmes and competitions - from networking evenings for enterprising-minded students to termly business ideas challenges and from intensive enterprise boot camps to a specialist programme for PhD students wishing to explore and enhance their enterprise skills. We also facilitate collaborative events with other universities, such as Creative Hack or GradVenture.

How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?

I’ve only worked at UCL for 13 months. In my previous role I set up a Business and Professional Development Department in one of London’s adult education colleges and before then worked in project management, marketing and business development roles in a number of London’s HEIs.

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

I am really proud to be launching UCL’s Women in Enterprise network. It’s such a privilege to be able to support entrepreneurial women within UCL, whether staff or students, and also in the local business community. It’s through regular networking, learning from their peers and practising key entrepreneurial skills, UCL female entrepreneurs will get a step closer to starting or scaling up their own businesses, be it commercial ventures or social enterprises.

Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list?

What immediately springs to mind is London Venture Crawl 2020, taking place on 11 March. Currently in its fourth year, it’s a UK-wide initiative that includes more than a dozen partners - Higher Education Institutions from across London and beyond. Each university puts up to 50 of its most enterprising or entrepreneurship curious students onto an iconic London Route Master bus and takes them to 5 of the most innovative and inspiring businesses in London. No route is the same. This is a unique opportunity for UCL students to explore the capital’s entrepreneurial eco-system and extend their networks.

What is your favourite album, film and novel?

This is always the hardest question to answer! My favourite film is probably ’The Departed’ by Michael Scorsese and my favourite novel is ’One Hundred Years of Solitude’ by Gabriel Garcia Marques. Unfortunately I’ll have to pass on the music question as my music taste is too fickle.

What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?

A cow meets a horse in a bar and says, "Why the long face?"

Who would be your dream dinner guests?

The ones that eat my food and are thankful for it!

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t worry.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

When I was little the radio was constantly on in our flat. As a result I was so well informed about current affairs that my nursery staff took particular pleasure in discussing politics with me. I was three at the time.

What is your favourite place?

Barcelona.


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