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Sunday 27 April 2014

Some tip(i)s from James Merrick

James Merrick, a 2012 Events Management alumni, explains how his experiences at Solent have helped him set up his own business

Why did I study at Solent? I wanted to find a university that offered a bit more hands on experience and provided a variety of vocational courses. I chose to study events management. In addition, I was happy to find out out that they were very good at helping people with dyslexia.

During my degree, I organised all sorts of events, from pub quizzes to casino nights and a human table football event to raise funds for charity. This really offered me the experience of running my own events, which was something really important to me.

I also found that the guest lecturers were very interesting because they helped me understand the real side of event management where there is no safety net to fall back on. On top of that, I gained vital experience doing my work placement where I ended up running a sailing event company.

A large tipi

I’ve always wanted to run my own company. However, I never thought it would be possible until I went to university and boosted my confidence in the event industry.

In my third year I studied a module called Small Business where I learned how to write a business plan. I came up with the idea of setting up a tipi hire business for wedding parties and festivals. The business department at Solent offered me great support and after graduation I turned my ideas into reality.

I am a director and founder of All About ME Marquees and Events. My job involves me meeting clients, planning their events, putting the tipis up and equipping the tents as well as working with suppliers. I’m not particularly keen on the paperwork side of things, but my favourite part of the job is being outside, meeting new clients and being able to plan an event from start to finish.

I really hope that my company will grow and develop into one of the biggest tipi hire companies in the North. I am also eager to develop a couple more companies in the event industry. Finally, I can’t stress enough how happy I am to have taken advantage of everything Solent offered me.