Business Stories with Gerard Grech

Lohan and GerardToday I had the pleasure of attending the ‘Business Stories’ session, which involved Lohan Presencer, CEO of Ministry of Sound, interviewing Gerard Grech the CEO of Tech City, who has an interesting portfolio of work experience to say the least!

It was my job was to live tweet the event which was great, as this was the first time I had ever provided live coverage of an event such as this one. The talk began with Lohan Presencer asking Gerard Grech to talk us through his journey starting from University. Lohan and Gerard are both University of Southampton alumni, so it was intriguing to find out more about how their experiences stemmed from their time at the University.

Gerard studied Acoustic Engineering at Southampton and he discussed with us how this started his entrepreneurial journey. He described his choice in University and degree as “the best marriage at the time”, as he stated that even with roughly 40 hours of lectures a week he was still determined to experience more. He pursued this by starting his own radio show in Southampton as well as working on bringing more club nights to the city to bring the London culture closer to home. Once he graduated he explained how he dabbled in journalism and maintained his entrepreneurial mentality and founded a music promo company, before heading to Bath to study his MBA which was motivated by his interest in the way that technology changes and the impact this has on the world.

Upon leaving Bath he benefitted from a range of work experience, from working with Orange in Paris, Nokia in New York and a quick stint working with Blackberry. He said that the job roles that he had attained didn’t even exist when he was at University, which highlights how quickly both the music and technology industry have evolved. He joked that in 2004 he emailed Apple and asked “Have you thought of a music phone?” which led to his statement that just because something isn’t ready to work yet, doesn’t mean it won’t be adopted later on down the line.

Now Gerard is the CEO of Tech City, a company that focuses on developing company’s digital skills and capital investment for start-ups. One of the main things that stood out to me from Gerard’s talk was that he said “The knowledge transfer into big corporations comes from start-ups”, discussing how his experience with the bigger companies helped channel his progress towards aiding up and coming businesses. He stressed that Universities can best help their students by providing them with spaces that can really nurture digital skills which can be applied in multiple contexts.

I want to say a huge thank you to both Gerard Grech for speaking with us and Lohan Presencer for arranging  and hosting it, as their talk really highlighted to the audience that with both passion and drive, you can take your interests all over the world and create and innovate in areas that may not even exist yet.




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