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Tuesday 11 August 2015

Alumni: Tim Miller

Tim Miller was able to set up his own business on graduating from Southampton Solent five years ago, going straight from the lecture theatre into the adventure and tourism industry. We met with Tim to discuss how he was able to set up and run a successful business so quickly.

“Whilst starting work on our final dissertation projects, myself and friend James Baker made the final decision to start up our own business,” Tim says. “We registered the first company with Companies House over a full English breakfast in the University canteen…”

“…and with support from the University’s in-house business start-up team, just a few months later we were running a fully functional tour operator called Freedom Adventures, providing rock climbing and scuba diving holidays around Europe.”

Tim Miller, Solent graduate

Part of an outdoor and adventure programme with 25 years of history behind it, Solent’s BA (Hons) Adventure and Outdoor Management degree enables students to combine adventure and outdoor sports experience with vital business skills.

This innovative blend was the reason Tim chose the adventure and outdoor management degree. “It seemed like the ideal way of getting the managerial skills needed to be independent in business in the outdoor industry,” he says.

As well as giving students a chance to combine the activities they love with a career, the degree was the perfect way to meet likeminded people. Tim remembers Solent having “lots of adventurous people by nature, loads of clubs and societies to support this passion.

“When I started university, I had done a bit of climbing and a bit of a scuba diving… and I left as an instructor for both. The societies supported this massively, and it’s very cheap to do.” Tim is now involved in the climbing club at Solent, and delivers national governing body (NGB) training to the latest batch of students – which conveniently involves going on a wide variety of trips!

On the academic side, Tim believes what he learned allowed him to have the confidence to turn his dream into a reality. “When I look back at my classmates and look at where they are now, a lot are in outdoor industry and in managerial positions. The course gives people a much broader understanding of industry so when they go into industry, they understand what is expected of them, and this makes them much more employable.”

The climbing facilities at Southampton Solent University

The support Tim received from Solent was a key part of his graduate successes. The University provides extensive support for student and graduate entrepreneurs, from advice to finance or start-up space – and an open-door policy for experts in all fields of business and academic study.

Tim is now on a new adventure, seven years after it all started. “We have sold both Freedom Adventure and [their second company] Rock & Sun; James is away working on super-yachts around the world and I’m running the wall in Southampton. We’ve had a taste for business though, and have exciting plans for future business together.”

To find out more about studying adventure and outdoor management here at Southampton Solent, please visit our course pages or email