10 July, 2012 - 08:41 By Tony Quested

From the shadows to enlightenment

When a delegate mentions the quality of a Cambridge University programme in the UK in the same reverential breath as Stanford in the US you know something is being done right.

A celebration dinner I attended at Downing College on Friday acknowledged the achievements of delegates on last week’s celebrated Centre for Entepreneurial Learning Ignite programme at Judge Business School.

But it demonstrated so much more than just the end of an enterprise event. Some amazing technology propositions had been on the agenda.

And besides the thrill of having taken raw ideas from a base camp of frustration to a rarefied plateau, there was a genuine bond between the delegates and the hard-working grey beards that had formed the mentor panel.

There is clearly an additional benefit to the Ignite programme – the amazing international networking opportunity.

Delegates headed home to all points of the global compass armed with business cards, telephone numbers and pledges of future collaboration from fellow travellers on the journey of exploration and discovery.

One Polish lecturer on the programme, who had been on another event at Stanford, told me Ignite mentors helped straighten out kinks in his innovation proposal and enabled him to take one idea further than he would have dreamt possible.

There were similarly uplifting tales from delegates I met who had come from China, India, Spain and many other territories in Asia and Europe.

But there is a wider and much more important implication of progammes like Ignite. The spirit of enterprise generated by CfEL through Ignite and many other of its programmes ghosts across geographic borders and boundaries. It transcends imaginary frontiers of creed, colour, culture and gender.

Knowledge – and sharing thoughts and experiences with others – moves people from the shadows of ignorance to enlightenment.

In terms of enterprise and entrepreneurship- it is a comforting thought that the enlightenment spread by CfEL and all its many contributors are consistently spidering across the planet.

And that hundreds of delegates from down the years – as well as those people and companies with whom they are sharing lessons learned – are basking in the rays.

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