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What’s life like in Alacrity?

James Lewis, Alacrity UK Programme Head.

Here at the Alacrity Foundation, our mission is to mentor and train the next generation of entrepreneurs in Wales.

To help demonstrate how we achieve this I’ll take you on a ‘whistle-stop tour’ from last week. This will give an insight to the people we meet and what life is like for the individuals who join our unique start-up programme.

We are unique!
For the staff and the graduate teams, Alacrity is a unique place to work. No two weeks are the same, nothing stands still, it is fast paced and there are new challenges every day – It is full on!!

It takes a special type of person to live and breathe this culture, if you’re what we call a Business Lead, you need to be instinctively entrepreneurial, a great presenter, be able to think on your feet, calm under pressure, identify opportunities, make concise decisions and learn to become a leader.  If you are what we call a Technical Lead, you are one of the coders, but you need to do more than just code, you’ll need to quickly solve complex intricate problems, you’ll need to turn ideas into noughts and ones and become a project management superhero. Plus, you’ll also need to learn how to present and be confident with customers and potential investors.

Also, everyone on our programme needs to be persistent, ambitious, open-minded and bring a readiness to learn.

MONDAY

8.45am – Management Team Meeting
“Practice what you preach” – We encourage our teams to take an agile approach and the management team are no different, so our Monday meeting is a quick review of the events/meeting from the previous week and a look forward to the week ahead.

9.00am – Team 16 – Daily Stand-Up
Team 16 (AKA Surple Energy) have a busy week ahead, they have a client meeting every day this week, their first website is going live on Friday plus they have a 26,000 word tender to write by the end of January. Today they are focused on the objectives of a 10am meeting with Newport City Council.

Surple Energy

Surple Energy – Sean Oldfield, Peter Allan and Cody Bond.

To check progress, communicate actions and monitor workloads, all our teams reflect and plan using a daily stand-up.

11.00am – Alacrity on film
This week we have a videographer Jaime Patton in the office, Jaime is also capturing what life is like in Alacrity for a video to go on to the website.

Plus the views here on the riverfront in Newport can be amazing. Jaime took some great shots of the scenery just outside our building.

1.00pm – Phone interview
Myself & Guy Wendon (Head of Business Development) are taking time to speak to a Mechanical Engineering graduate who recently applied to be part of the 2018/19 cohort.

2.00pm – Management Team Meeting with the NSA
Not the secret service, this is the National Software Academy, also based in Newport.

TUESDAY

9.30am – Mentor Session – Personal Presence with Marilyn Le Conte from the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama
Marilyn’s session has been an annual event with Alacrity since 2013. Marilyn uses techniques that make individuals pay specific attention to how they are communicating a message, how they can enhance presence and better connect with an audience, be they clients, investors or anyone that they encounter in a professional environment.

This is an interactive session that puts the graduates on the spot and makes them have to think about their presence and how to maintain it.

WEDNESDAY

9.00am – Individual Progress Reviews
Teamwork and collaborative effort are vital to the success of a start-up organisation, of equal importance is well-being and individual critical reflection.  As a management team, it is essential we give each individual the opportunity to express their views in an open and honest forum.

(No cameras allowed on this one.)

11.00am – Team Project Updates
This is a team presentation to the management team giving us an update on their Alacrity journey to date. This includes a technical and commercial status update of their products.

Our job this week is to constructively critique as if we were potential investors meeting them for the first time.

Life at Alacrity

2.00pm – Mentor Planning & Booking
Over the last 5 years, we have built up an extensive network of over 70+ experienced mentors, drawn from a range of businesses.  These business leaders, many of whom are leaders in their sectors, give their time to share their expert knowledge and experience.

To use this network effectively it’s my job to pair our mentors time at the most valuable point of learning for the teams.

THURSDAY

9.00am – Newport City Summit
Alacrity UK CEO, Dr. Wil Williams and Robert Van Den Bergh, Business Lead on Team 17, attend Newport City Council’s fifth City Summit at the Celtic Manor Resort.

At this event, the authority revealed its new city centre master plan.  Wil and Rob got the opportunity to network with a mix of influential private and public individuals.

Newport City Summit

2.00pm – Management Team Meeting with Careers Wales
This is a positive meeting to explore our common objectives and explore potential collaborative projects.

FRIDAY

AM – Project Planning

Each Friday we review the performance of the last week, what was achieved, what were the learnings, what could have been improved and what needs to be done next.  This iterative cycle allows our teams to evolve into efficient and productive companies.

PM – Write this blog….

Want to hear more? I did say it was a whistle stop tour, this is just a very small snippet of what life is like at Alacrity, if you’d like to find out more about joining the programme or becoming a mentor please feel free to contact us.

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