Ambassador Blog: Lord Bilimoria
Sarunas Savulionis and Estera Sandra Nowak – University of Strathclyde
It is important to inspire youth and to share lessons one learned for others to avoid similar mistakes or to step on the path to success. On the 12th of November as student ambassadors we had the opportunity to attend and help at the event organised by Asia Scotland Institute, which has arranged for Lord Karan Bilimoria to give a presentation on Entrepreneurship for students and alumni.
Lord Karan Bilimoria is best known as the Founder and Chairman of Cobra Beer, although other titles also include Chancellor of University of Birmingham and Crossbench Life Peer in the House of Lords. Through his introduction, the speaker has made the audience aware of how meaningful it is to speak at University of Strathclyde. Karan Bilimoria firstly discussed the hardships in the journey of building a business and with honesty admitted that he almost lost his own on three occasions. Therefore, he has outlined that entrepreneurs must have the guts to act on their ideas.
He described his own business as a “simple big idea”, as it came to his mind unexpectedly when he visited a bar and noticed that lager beer was too gassy and fizzy to drink with Indian cuisine, while ale was too bitter. Thus, through his studies at Cambridge, he developed the idea of producing the finest Indian beer that provides both men and women with refreshment of the lager and smoothness of an ale globally, which led to the success story that Cobra Beer is today.
Unlike other entrepreneurs, Lord Bilimoria has highlighted that luck was an important factor in his triumph. He frankly found himself at the right time, in the right place with the right people. By his opinion, an extraordinary brand aspires and achieves against all odds with integrity, while placing the importance of understanding the consumer at the forefront.
The guest speaker delivered an engaging talk, which finished with a loud and long applause from the audience. After the presentation, the event continued in the form of a networking reception, where we had the ability to gather feedback from the attendees. Many have described Lord Karan Bilimoria as an inspiring speaker who knows how to engage with audience, furthermore it was appreciated that during the Q&A session it appeared as if he aimed to ensure that every question will be answered in detail regardless of time limitation. It could not go unnoticed that many attendees felt comfortable to approach the special guest to engage in a further conversation. As it is commonly known, actions speak louder than words and his gesture of shaking everyone`s hands on the way out demonstrates that he is humble as regardless of his accomplishments, he provides others with recognition.
We are pleased to be a part of Asia Scotland Institute team, which provides us with the opportunity to meet global leaders, because it sparks our motivation to continue developing. Moreover, it allows us to participate in an environment that stimulates curiosity and exchange of knowledge to gain a deeper understanding of Asia.