Harry met his business partner at Leeds and started a company, Think Pacific, with help from Spark’s business advisers. He now works to provide ethical gap years in the South Pacific and sustainable development in the poorest communities of the Fiji islands.
What is your name and current occupation?
My name is Harry Hunter and I am the Overseas Director for Think Pacific.
What did you study at Leeds?
Tell us a little bit about your company and your role within it.
Think Pacific is an organisation which works with local partners to achieve ethical, responsible and sustainable development in the poorest communities of the Fiji islands, whilst allowing our volunteers
to have a worthwhile and unique experience. My role is to oversee the expeditions in the South Pacific, working with the local ministries and organisation to plan new projects and development initiatives.
How did you end up setting up your own business after leaving the University of Leeds?
I met my business partner Simon when studying at Leeds University through a mutual contact in Fiji
who had recognised that we both shared a passion for the Fiji islands and its people. The planning and preparation for the business continued throughout my time at the University, supported by Spark and its business advisors.
What skills and attributes did you gain from your course?
Studying for any degree teaches you some excellent business skills, including an independence of thought, and ability to research and plan, and an ability to highlight strengths and weaknesses in a particular argument or event.
What skills and attributes did you gain from your co-curricular activities?
Being on the committee for the Stop Aids Society for 2 years whilst at Uni helped me gain skills in advertising for the particular fundraising events that we would run and raising awareness amongst groups and in individuals. Think Pacific itself now look to raise Aids awareness as part of the community projects that we run.
How do you think the skills you gained from your course and other activities helped you when it came to setting up your own business?
Writing a dissertation requires attention to detail in planning and preparing, and these are vital when putting together a business plan, with financial forecasts and advertising aims.
Looking back, are there any gaps in your skills set that you could have filled while at university?
To this day accountancy remains a weakness of mine, and I could have used the advisors available through Spark at a much earlier stage in my time at Uni to help my understanding.
What would you say were your main achievements at university and how did these influence where you are now?
Winning the Rag hitchhike to Paris was certainly an achievement and a crazy journey along the way.
What advice would you have for students studying today?
Don’t wish away your time at University, it’s the one chance to truly indulge your own thoughts and ideas and have some great fun along the way.