Category Archives: Enterprise! Spotlight

Rental Hub

Name: Adeshola Fujah

Business name: RentalHub

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RentalHub is an peer-to-peer rental service, essentially giving financial support within a social community. The online community is specifically set up for the students to rent their products or offer their services.

What inspired to start your own business/project?
Three reasons: Firstly, personally whilst in university I found it difficult meeting people because I was quite shy, even up until I finished I had a small group of friends!
Secondly, whilst in university there were resources, which I acquired from students in the year above me or even my peers but struggled to find a source to reach out to my peers.
Thirdly, tuition fees are extremely high, so I believe it is great to get students involved in being entrepreneurial and receiving some extra income.

What was your biggest fear about starting business and how have you overcome it?
It was the money aspect of things, however alongside my two business partners we were able to come up with the money for development of RentalHub, we realised that there was always a way around financial aspects of business.

What are you most proud of? – e.g. personal milestones, awards, sales, awareness increase, positive feedback.
I’m very proud of user-friendly website and the impact our website could have on a university! The feedback has been great and people seem to think they have heard of our business before!

How does your business differ from others? What’s your USP (unique selling point)?
There are very few competitors in the peer-to-peer rental market. There is a competitor called Zilok, however our website is user-friendly, also our categories also categories also make our service wider, we are starting our site with “StudentHub” which will be for the student market offering services such as proof-reading, tutors and more.

In the future we wish to open our categories to rental of parking spaces, cars, art/music equipment, houses and rooms. Eventually in five years we wish to offer a portal rental needs which are in demand.

How did you come up with your business name and branding imagery?
To be honest, it was more trial and error, we had names Rent-a-Space, Rentitems, etc. Eventually we made the name RentalHub and it just automatically stuck!

It’s simple and says states what the business is in its name.

How have you promoted our marketed your business?
Marketing is something we are currently working on, September we have a campaign with Student Hut who have a network 300,000 students; they have agreed to put is in their newsletter and advertise us on their site!

We also have contact with a huge university game show called ‘The Big Clash’ we will advertise with them as they go to every university in the academic year for their event!

We also intend to use key key influential social figures for university like a comedian named ‘Big Tipper’, he may be able to promote of his social media which could grow our following.

We use Twitter and Instagram to promote our services by running competitions, showing new products that arrive on our site, and more.

Looking back, what would you have differently with your business/project?
Maybe have more regular meetings and also specify what days and times to hold the meeting on – having a good structure from the start!

Securing a grant or bursary early within the creation.

Where do you want to be in 5 years?
Five years we will have students who have graduated from university, we aim to have all categories open on our site and meet the demands of the graduates who are now working and earning more money than they were in university.

How has/did University support you in developing and growing your business/project?
This is the first time I have a presented this idea to the university so hopefully the University can support us in a number of ways.

Why do you believe enterprise skills are important? Please give a brief quote.
I believe they are important as they allow us to think creatively and solve problems. Businesses are put together to make an improvement in the improvement in the world so the way I see it is that we are developing the world.

“An Entrepreneur is nothing without skills.” 

Contact details:
Website: www.rentalhub.co.uk
Email: shola@rentalhub.co.uk, aaron@rentalhub.co.uk ticha@rentalhub.co.uk
Social Media Links: @rentalhubuk

L.Samuel- a stationary product with integrated battery charging technology.

Enterprise! Spotlight

Name:  Sam Nozdrachov

Business name: L.Samuel

13315471_1212171332127292_6006795864902318217_nSam is the proud founder of L.Samuel, a brand which aims to revolutionise  the way you charge your mobile devices. Their flagship product at the moment is a product completely new to the European market, an A5 branded luxury notebook with a hidden battery integrated inside the back page, which can charge android and apple devices and 16GB USB flash drives.

“At the moment business professionals are reluctant in using power banks, as it can look silly at a meeting or in the restaurant. However, with our solution there are useful features for working professionals, entrepreneurs and businessmen such as 16GB USB flash drive, 10000 mAh power bank and notebook as an all in one device.”

What inspired you to start your own business/project?

The inspiration for this current project came from another business called “Brainstorm”, which I was managing in 2015. I had a team and we were making notebooks with graphical designs as there was limited choice the retail shops. However, we had to pivot and I decided to make the best notebook the market has never had.

I built a product  _MG_4725 Edited1with the most useful features specifically for business professionals. I have never come across notebooks with integrated gadgets nor technology, Furthermore, the fashion industry is slowly introducing cloth with integrated tech’. After identifying  this gap in the market, I decided to make a brand which concentrates on high end luxury stationary with integrated technology, which is useful for business people.

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

The biggest fear about starting a business is uncertainty and dealing with uncertainty everyday. You can never be 100% sure whether your products are  going to sell or not, even if the potential customers feedback is very positive. In business, sales ultimately indicate whether what  you are selling is something that people are ready to pay money for. Generally speaking, people do not like to spend money on things that don’t bring value to them. 13524098_10154274731003908_1100519138_o

In the early stages of the business cycle, start-up products are usually used by Influencers and innovators, which account for about 20% of the whole market. So the biggest challenge is finding your first customers and maintaining relationships with them. You really need to make these people use the product and listen, listen, listen! Afterwards, you need to change your product according to the market needs, this process is called “Product co-creation” where start-ups co-create and tailor the products quickly according to the customer needs and wants.

What are you most proud of? – e.g. personal milestones, awards, sales, awareness increase, positive feedback

First of all I am proud that last year, I was able to successfully launch and manage a new unknown smartphone brand in United Kingdom called Takee UK, considering UK is the worlds 3rd largest smartphone market. My company was the first official distributor and representative of a Takee brand in the UK. Takee smartphones were the first Chinese smartphone brand to win the CES Innovation award in 2015, in addition to winning the German IF Design award. When we started no one was selling this brand in United Kingdom. However in 6-8 month the smartphone brand became popular in the UK and now is sold by many sellers on amazon and ebay. So we created good competition in the market, however, unfortunately we didn’t get exclusive distribution to protect the market power.

In addition, I am proud of the marketing achievements we achieved, especially in digital marketing, taking into account we did not have massive budgets. We had to be incredibly creative to achieve the following numbers:

Facebook viral post ad – 128,704 people reached  and 46000 views.

YouTube – I managed to create collaboration with the biggest technology Reviewer on Social Media in United Kingdom -SuperSaf.

1st Video Unboxing – 210 000 views, 2200 likes

2nd Video Full review – 100 811 views, 1114 likes

How does your business differ from others? What’s your USP (unique selling point)?

A lot of people do not see what I see. Many of them say “but you can use normal power bank as well” or “You just charging money for making 1 device multifunctional”. However, there is a particular and distinct difference between my product and existing solutions to the problem.

It is for the first time people can charge their mobile devices invisibly to other people in any place they won’t. It is for the first time people can charge their smartphones on the table and invisibly to others at Restaurant, Business meeting or conference. So L.Samuel brand provides a Stylish way to charge smartphones and mobile devices invisibly to other people. Most of the business professionals do not use power banks because wires and multiple devices looks unprofessional on the table.

How did you come up with your business name and branding imagery?

I came up with the brand name and brand imagery after people even made first pre-orders. At first I was concentrating on doing market research and finding out whether this product is needed in the UK market and most importantly if people were willing to pay the initial price point.

After validation of my hypothesis and market testing, I was consulting with solicitors and lawyers which Kingston University and Young Enterprise department helped me get in touch with. In addition to lawyers and solicitor, I was advised by the branding experts I know from my country (Ukraine), China and some other countries in EU.

After consideration of both sides of advisors – Marketing with Branding and Law experts. I knew that my company name cannot be associated with anything in particular. So I was literally walking in Kingston town centre and Central London analysing all the brands and company names I could see. In the end I made a decision to create brand name using my own name. This way I can register a trademark and defend my brand.

How have you promoted or marketed your business?

I have made a Facebook group and LinkedIn company page. At the current moment I was only using LinkedIn paid advertising targeted at senior level employees who work at high-end retail shops e.g. Harrods, Debenhams, Bentalls, and Selfridges etc. Furthermore, I will be reviewed in some technology magazines. In addition, I recently launched a website and I will soon implement a digital and marketing strategy to increase traffic.

How did you raise funds for your business/project?

I sold my Ipad, 2 professional camera lenses, Ipod, TV, Xbox and everything I could see in my flat. I knew that all those devices were distracting me from achieving my targets (except my camera lenses) and i decided to get rid of tem all.

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

I truly believe that I am on the right path at the moment.  I wish I had launched  my website earlier. I started this company just when during the same period as my final year exams and assignments started, so it was pretty tough task do both.

Where do you want to be in 5 years?

In 5 years time I want to have an office in London City area, being in control of my current brand L.Samuel. I want to make sure I create products which satisfy particular customer segments needs.

L.Samuel Notebooks is just a beginning of the product line. There will be many brand extensions in the L.Samuel brand. As I have mentioned before I want to create a brand which is going to integrate technology into high quality stationery products. So in 5 years I can see Leather A4 folders for Ipad, Laptop bags with power banks, Designer leather cases with integrated power banks and  a wireless notebook charger.

How has/did University support you in developing and growing your business/project?

First of all, Kingston University has brilliant societies and departments which help students such as the student entrepreneurship society and  the enterprise department. If you are an active member like I was throughout all my  3 years at Kingston, you will get amazing opportunities. Firstly, there are a lot of events organised where very successful entrepreneurs are invited like – Yoganathan Ratheesan, Rachel Elnaugh and many more!

I actually had a chance to speak to those people after their speeches and they gave me such valuable advice. Furthermore, all enterprise and entrepreneurship societies bring like minded individuals together.

Not to mention, that Kingston University has a Kingston Nest Business incubator. They allow students to register their companies by the business address and provide them with office space at the same time.

Why do you believe enterprise skills are important? Please give us a brief quote.

” Start-ups environment changes everyday and it is so important to build a product which customers actually need. I call it ‘Must have product’ vs ‘Nice to have product’. In almost every situation you probably will not build the business on “Nice to have product”. You need to satisfy a particular very annoying problem for the customers. That is why , Pivoting is absolutely vital. Unsuccessful business ideas with good team can Pivot into great business according to the costumer needs and problems “

Enterprise! Spotlight – Grocemania

Enterprise Spotlight: Askar Bulegenov

Thank you for doing this interview with us, please tell us about your business/project:

grocemania 2

Grocemania  is a tech company focused on the logistics,  marketing and delivery of grocery products  to households and offices, within the shortest time possible  We deliver goods to our customers in an average of 36 minutes. We partner with national supermarkets and local markets and shops, offering a wide range of options for our customers.

“Our mission is to save people time and simplify their lives , ultimately overcoming obstacles that stop them from going to the supermarket. Including  family responsibilities, illness, intoxication or just being too busy or lazy to go to the store.

What inspired you to start your own business/project?

One night, after a long working day, gym and football training, I was completely shattered and asked my friend to buy some strawberries and chocolate for me.  He forgot to do so which  made me  so upset and I  thought to myself, “how nice would it be if you could just call someone and they bring you food straight to your flat?” This thought was at the forefront of my mind for 3 days,  until I decided to introduce this idea to my friends. The feedback was very positive which lead to us giving out surveys to people and 82% of people reported they would be willing to use such service.

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

For any entrepreneur, one of the biggest fears and concerns about the business is people’s faith. Starting your own business, demands a lot of energy and emotions, so being supported is highly desirable. It is very important to feel that people believe in your idea and find it attractive, otherwise it is easy to get demotivated. However, talking to everyone and explaining the nature of the business, with all its’ advantages and benefits, helped us gain  trust and acceptance leading to a customer base.

What are you most proud of? – e.g. personal milestones, awards, sales, awareness increase, positive feedback.

There is one thing I am really proud of, according to David Buttress (CEO and Founder of JustEat UK) at ‘Startup Grind Talk’ after two months of operating he and his partner only generated £33 pounds of Net Revenue, while Grocemania has generated approximately £1000. This further demonstrates the demand for this type of service in the market.

How does your business differ from others? What’s your USP (unique selling point)?

grocemania 3First of all, as there is an absence of a logistic service in grocery market in the UK, it gives us first mover advantage, filling in the gap. Providing customers with almost “instant” delivery within an hour, we charge the lowest delivery fees and also we have the  lowest ‘minimum shopping cart’ value of only £10. Furthermore, due to partnering with the physical stores, we are able to better control freshness and quality of the delivered products. In addition our cargo-bicycles enable us to perform even very heavy orders. Finally our service allows customers to discover local and specialised shops, as well as make orders from big high street retailers.

How did you come up with your business name and branding imagery?

Once the Idea came to my mind, the name just came along with it. Our branding and imagery was designed by a friend of mine, Aizhan. She was the perfect choice as she understood exactly what we wanted to achieve and delivered! She still supports us to this day.

How have you promoted or marketed your business?

We have strong marketing campaigns in digital and media sources, such as Google, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook; along with commercial advertisements. Moreover, we leave our flyers and stickers in partner stores in order to introduce our service to existing customers. We have also been running a marketing campaign with Mumsnet Local to attract busy parents.

Additionally, we aim to keep all deliveries and brand image environmentally friendly.

How did you raise funds for your business/project?

In order to help our business  expand and raise some funds, our company has taken part in several competitions and elevator programmes. We have also attended a few networking events where we managed to make some very useful contacts, in terms of funding. Additionally, our marketing campaigns increased our sales, ultimately increasing our revenue.

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

Passing through different stages of development of our business and gaining more experience in the e-commerce industry, the first thing I would definitely change is the software. Our website is operating on the Shopify platform. Even though this software engine is created specifically for online retailers, it is missing a lot of features that are essential for the type of  business we have, such as order tracking and splitting the payments between us and our partners. With the knowledge I have now, I would have set up the website on the Magento platform.

Where do you want to be in 5 years?

grocemania 4In a 5 years time, I see Grocemania as an International company. We are planning to issue franchises, so we could enter the foreign markets as quickly as possible. Certainly, after 5 years we will have our own software with all the IP rights belonging to us. One more aspect of a perfect scenario would involve millions in turnover and global awareness of Grocemainia.

 

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

Kingston University supported us in several ways. Firstly, all the fairs and events that were running especially for the Business School, provided us with a couple of useful contacts. Along with this, the university regularly holds different competitions which we can participate in and improve our skills.

“Entrepreneurship skills include identifying an unexploited opportunity and making the most of it. People with entrepreneurial skills are the benefit to any company because they will be able to fill the gaps in the market and innovate. Likewise, good entrepreneurs posses good decision-making skills, planning skills, and executing skills, which are obviously vital for the company’s performance”- Askar Bulegenov

 

 

 

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.

 

Bright Ideas runner up – Alain Mouandza

Alain, tell us about your Bright Idea and your inspiration to enter the competition?

Keidas_9 is a multifunctional transportation device that can transport water, goods and people simultaneously. It is designed for disaster relief and to aid victims of natural disasters all around the world.

Alain

What inspired you to enter Bright Ideas?

I decided to enter Bright Ideas because I wanted to gain more help and support to promote my idea and get more exposure for Keidas_9. I was attracted to the prospect of meeting other entrepreneurs and networking with judges and entrants to learn more about their experience and knowledge and to see whether they could help me.

Alain, what do you feel you most proud of?

I am proud that Keidas_9 was a winning idea! I am even prouder that it was selected from so many great student ideas.

What will you be doing with your winnings from the Bright Ideas Final?

I will be investing my winnings into making a prototype of my project. That way, it will be easy for people to understand my project better when I explain it to them.

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

I would have explained my idea more thoroughly and been more prepared for my presentation. I would also have liked to include more market value statistics and information to show the judges.

How do you feel about the whole Bright Ideas experience?

I feel that the Bright Ideas experience was extremely beneficial and positive to my idea. I gained more confidence in my project. I also met others who had similar aims as mine and so I learnt a lot from other entrants and professionals.

Alain, why do you believe enterprise skills are important?

I believe enterprise skills are very important. Having these skills, allows people to develop great and bright ideas that can help others to improve their life.

The Enterprise Team has given me the confidence to now take my idea further” – Alain Mouandza, MSc Aerospace