Cass student-entrepreneur heads to New York to showcase innovative start-up at TED-Ed Weekend

Final-year business student Toby Liew has been invited to a youth conference that brings student leaders from around the world together at TED Headquarters.

A third-year BSc (Hons) Business Studies student at Cass Business School is set to join the world’s brightest student leaders at this year’s TED-Ed Weekend event in New York.

Toby Liew is the founder of Magniband, a lens which fits around the camera of a smartphone to capture high quality, close-up images. He received the invite from TED following an initial introduction at TEDSummit 2019 in Edinburgh, and hopes to inspire guests with his early experiences of running a business alongside studying for a degree.

Toby said:

“We were selected to share Magniband’s fun sense of curiosity with a younger audience as well as being a platform to inspire them with my story as a young founder.

"The event is known to be a key vehicle for putting cutting edge products into the hands of influencers and thought leaders, so it is a real honour to be asked to contribute my experiences."

Toby created Magniband in 2013 while at school, and has seen a simple yet creative vision expand across the world – with roots now established in the Middle East, USA and Africa. A passion for photography and technology, together with entrepreneurial spark encouraged Toby to act when he saw a gap in the market.

“At the time, existing lenses were expensive, not user-friendly and unimaginative,” Toby continued.

“I saw an opportunity to use the power of smartphone cameras to create products that could make the photography experience more fun and impressive, and wanted to develop a unique and affordable tool for macro photography that any smartphone user could benefit from.”

man standing in front of cass business school logo

Among Toby’s final year programme modules is Technological Innovation and Practice, taught by Senior Lecturer in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Dr Susan Hill.

Dr Hill, who is also supervising Toby for his final-year project, believes his character and experiences at such a young age should act as a shining example to his peers.

“Toby’s curiosity, work ethic and desire to make an impact really set him apart. He has a great opportunity now to inspire others, while of course amplifying awareness of the brand he’s built up. Magniband is an excellent example of the confluence of a desire to solve a problem and the need to be creative to overcome constraints, which has resulted in a product that lots of others can benefit from.

“The Technological Innovation and Practice module aims to give students an appreciation of the importance of innovation in shaping the industries they choose to work in as well as the world we live in. Developing theoretical understanding of innovation and practicing applying this knowledge to real world examples encourages young entrepreneurs like Toby to think about how to ‘future-ready’ their ventures.”

the back of a man holding a magniband, with the body of somebody wearing a TED t-shirt in the background

Attracted to Cass by the opportunity to develop his business knowledge in a diverse environment, Toby feels that his studies have proved invaluable towards not only understanding his own business, but shaping future ambitions.

“Through Cass's network of leading lecturers and professors, I have been able to further develop my start-up and identify new opportunities for the future.

"By providing inspirational entrepreneur events and an exceptional network of like-minded business students – many of whom have become great friends – Cass has inspired me to leverage my degree and start-up experience to enter the world of impact investing through an early-stage venture capital fund to help solve critical world problems."

Find out more about the new Business Management, Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship programme at Cass.

Read more about undergraduate degree programmes at Cass.

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