It has been a great privilege to be Vice-Provost (Enterprise) at UCL and inevitably as I pack my bags to make the long trip from Gordon Street to the Wellcome Trust on Euston Road, I have been reflecting on the last five years. So much has changed and so much has been achieved by UCL.
10 December 2012
Entrepreneurship Guest Lecture Series: Greg Gillespie
Greg Gillespie made his way through the arts world slowly and steadily. If one word were to be chosen to describe Greg, this would be “perseverance”.
Greg started dancing as a young boy at his parents’ dancing school in Nottingham and was later on accepted at the Douglas Academy of dance, one of the best schools in the country. After he learnt and specialised in ballroom Latin American and having entered various competitions, Greg decided to try his luck as an actor and made his way –again- into one of best English drama schools. He took part in West-End theatre productions and, while he was still in drama school, he began to give dancing lessons in London.
How did Greg get into business? “All I had was a battered old pair of shoes and an iPod”. And a strong will power. And an incredible perseverance. Greg used to teach in Canary Wharf, at the Reebok Sports Club where he held ballroom Latin American dance classes. The Club soon offered him the opportunity to work full time there. This led him to open his own school, which grew over the years and is now one of the best known ones in London. What kicked off Greg’s business was the “percentage split” business model he came up with: it met both his interest and the Club’s from the very start and allowed him to afford rental of dance rooms for his entire first year at the Club.
Greg’s business is now able to offer “a market with competitive dancers”. He only recruits professionals to join his team: teachers or dancers with strong CVs. No street talents, no wannabe ones. Entrepreneurial advice by Greg? “Your business must have at least one irresistible offer” for the customer. Greg’s is to advertise a 30 minutes dancing class, completely free to anyone, before they join the school.
Greg is now Principal and Founder of The London academy of Dance. When asked about his future expectations, “I want to spin off…” is his reply: it’s a dancer’s view on business after all.
Written by Carolina Mostert