Author Archives: ku58476

‘KU Entrepreneurs’ take part in the National Apprentice Challenge 2016

National Apprentice Challenge – Kingston Entrepreneurs

1522760_554221868079676_2145863101562162070_oA team of Kingston students participated in the National Apprentice Challenge 2016, competing against 80 students from 11 other universities across the UK. The intense two-day competition encouraged teams to work together, applying their knowledge, strengths and weaknesses to complete the proposed tasks and achieve the best results.

The first task had Manasi, Karan, Shinny and Shivari running a virtual mid-sized airline business for 7 months, using award-winning online simulation software. The aim of the task was for each virtual business to make as much net profit as possible, with points awarded dependent on the amount of profit made. This task consisted of five rounds in which ‘KU Entrepreneurs’ were ranked 4th place in several of them.

The second stage of the competition had team ‘KU Entrepreneurs’ conceptualising and pitching their innovative ideas for The Next Social Media Platform. Our students had only 3 minutes to pitch their ideas to a panel of serial entrepreneurs and judges. Karan Chafekar, MBA student said,  ” This round gave us experience pitching an idea in a limited time frame, to a panel of potential investors, which will be helpful in the future”.

Group photo

Manasi Jade, MA Design student said, “We had a really good time and it was a fantastic experience!”, followed by Karan Chafekar, MBA student, saying “we would like to thank Kingston University for giving us this opportunity and sponsoring us to take part in NAC 2016”.

Enterprise! Spotlight: Fine Art Gallery

One of our Tier One Graduate Entrepreneurs has developed a fine art gallery with space in London to meet clients and a website to list the items that they are selling. The gallery specialises in Eastern European Fine art from 19-20th century, including paintings, drawings, sculptures and prints. It was opened in 2014 and the business is based on trading various pieces of art and providing consulting and mediator services.

What inspired you to start your own business?

I have always had business acumen and started trading online at the age of sixteen. Later, I had a couple of internet shops which helped me to generate some cash and come to the UK to study. After I obtained a Master’s degree from Kingston University and having worked for some time in the art market in London, I have decided that it is the right time to open my own business, which has always been my objective. Finally, a Graduate Entrepreneur programme was launched in the UK and it made both ends meet.

What was your biggest fear about starting your business and how have you overcome it?

Some legal procedures like registering a company, appointing a director and splitting the shares between owners, as well as employing people and other relevant legal procedures seemed to be scary at the first sight. However, it all turned out to be very reasonable and not as scary as I had first thought.

“It’s always good to learn from someone else’s experience so that you can to avoid making mistakes, big or small”

What are you most proud of?

To me the best results come from the sales, as this, in my opinion, is the best indicator of your success. So it was a great pleasure when I made a few sales and met my first clients. Another good indicator is when a customer returns to you to buy more. These are the two things which make me very proud.

How does your business differ from others? What is your USP?

As the specialisation of the gallery is quite narrowed to a particular period, 19th-20th century and also to the territory, Eastern Europe, where the objects were made, that may be considered as our USP. Also we don’t have much competition in the UK as the majority of similar businesses are based on the continent.

How have you promoted and marketed your business?

Our website is well positioned on Google as we aim to get new clients from the World Wide Web.  We also advertise from time to time in specialised printed media such as magazines and guides to reach our target market.

How did you raise funds for your business?

I used the funds that were accumulated from my professional experience in the art trade before coming to the UK and also borrowed some funds from friends.

Looking back what would you have done differently with your business?

I would have started earlier!

Where do you want to be in 5 years?

My aim is to increase the turnover of the business every year and open a bigger space in five years’ time. Also, it would be good to move to a more central location and maybe employ one or two additional salesmen.

How did Enterprise and Kingston University support you in developing and growing your business?

The Enterprise Programme has helped me immensely during the whole course. I have got invaluable support and advice both from my supervisor and from the lectures of the first year. During the course all students get numerous chances to meet business professionals, other entrepreneurs and supervisors and are free to ask and seek for help if needed.


Celebrate Enterprise 2016

Last week, students, staff, and distinguished alumni gathered to celebrate KU’s entrepreneurial achievements at the much anticipated annual Celebrate Enterprise awards. The day kicked off with a trade-fair, showcasing the innovative and entrepreneurial talents of our very own KU students.

Professor Ronald Tuninga, Pro Vice Chancellor, Enterprise, opened the ceremony highlighting Kingston’s success in Entrepreneurship followed by the presentation of staff awards by Deputy Vice-Chancellor David Mackintosh.

Our keynote speaker, Claudine Reid MBE, KU’s newest Visiting Social Entrepreneur shared her key strategies for becoming a successful entrepreneur, the 3 S’s; Story, Strategy, and Support.

Caludine Cel Ent

Keynote speaker, Claudine Reid MBE

David Knull and Janja Song presented the Graduate Young Enterprise Awards to four teams of students that participated in the trade fair; Emperatigo (Best Sales Team), Parachutes (Best Display Stand), Lucky 5 (Best Product), and one of our Bright Ideas winners, STAUNCHH (Best Company).

The ceremony closed with the student awards, drum roll please….

rui cel ent

Rui Daniel Jaime, Student Enterprise Champion and Claudine Reid MBE, Visiting Social Entrepreneur

Enterprise Champion 2015 Rui Daniel Jaime

Rui is founder of the Luso society, visionary of the alternative curriculum initiative, Bright Ideas finalist, and Founder of Jaime Enterprises. Each initiative speaks of Rui’s perseverance, innovative mind, and a challenger to status quo. The delicate balancing act of combining these initiatives bring Rui to the fore of the enterprise department.

Shortlisted Luke Ducker and Hassan Waqar and the KES Team

tina cel ent

Tina Dahmen, Most Enterprising Student and Claudine Reid MBE, Visiting Social Entrepreneur

Most Enterprising Student Tina Dahmen

Tina Dahmen is from Germany and in her 3rd year at Kingston, studying Journalism and Human Rights. She has set up an online business, a travel agency called ‘Take a Trip with Tina’ where she sells trips to young travellers, experimenting with various formats, including re-selling and designing bespoke trips.

Shortlisted David Boadu and Sam Nozdrachov

jairon cel ent

Jairon Francisco, Student Social Enterprise Award and Claudine Reid MBE, Visiting Social Entrepreneur

Social Enterprise Award Jairon Francisco

Jairon Francisco, mechanical engineer and entrepreneur is studying MSc. Engineering Projects and System Management.  He started his own business in the Dominican Republic before coming to UK sponsored by Chevening, the UK government’s international award. Jairon works with coffee and his idea of empowering smallholder farmers with sustainable technology.

Shortlisted Dennis Aguma and Felipe Araya

riccardo cel ent

Riccardo Pezzuolo, Entrepreneur of the Year and Claudine Reid MBE, Visiting Social Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur of the Year Riccardo Pezzuolo

Riccardo manages Togada Limited, a company where creativity is free to flourish. Since opening in September 2014, Togada has provided work in the creative industries to fourteen KU students and alumni. This year they intend to keep growing whilst engaging with talented artists and entrepreneurs.

Shortlisted – Elizabeth Benitez-Morales and Violetta Ilinskaya

A big congratulations to all those who were nominated, shortlisted and winners at Celebrate Enterprise! We hope you enjoyed the evening as much as we did. We look forward to a new enterprising academic year ahead!

Bright Ideas runner up – Jos Briggs

Business Management student, Joshua Briggs tells us about StickySticks and his experience in the Bright Ideas competition!

Jos, please tell us more about your Bright Idea?

StickySticks is a small cleaning product that is designed to remove lint and dirt from the charging and headphone ports of customers’ smartphones and tablets. The product consists of a small thin cylinder shape with handle at the top to hold the product. It could be compared to a ‘dental floss brush’, however instead of a fine brush the product would have a thin adhesive cylinder attached.

What was your inspiration to enter Bright Ideas?

Bright ideas seemed like an excellent opportunity to develop a variety of skills required to start a business such as; networking, public speaking and understanding the business model process. Also, I often have ideas and never act on them so Bright Ideas was a great way to test an idea with support from mentors and coaches throughout the process.

Jos Briggs

Is there anything you are most proud of from Bright Ideas? – e.g. personal milestones, awards, awareness increase, positive feedback.

I am extremely proud that my idea received lots of positive feedback from the judges who have a lot of business experience so that is a bonus. I am also proud of myself for making the effort to enter the competition and pursuing my product idea.

Jos, what do you plan on doing with your winnings?

After receiving so much positive feedback from the judges and other people throughout this competition, I have decided to use my winnings to develop a prototype for my product.

Looking back, what would you have done differently with your idea?

If I were to enter bright ideas again I would want to be slightly more prepared, particularly for the pitching round. A lot of entries had drawings or working prototypes, which helped the judges to understand the product even more clearly.

What is your overall experience of entering Bright Ideas?

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the Bright Ideas competition, and it has given me confidence to pursue my ideas in the future.

How did Enterprise and Kingston University support you in developing and growing your ideas?

Enterprise and Kingston University have helped to put me in an environment with coaches and mentors who have given me some great advice based on their own personal experience. I am also now aware of how Enterprise and Kingston University can help support my ideas in the future.

“Enterprise skills give you the confidence you need to turn your ideas into reality” Jos Briggs, BSc Business Management