Success in business start-up competition

John Arceno

John Arceno (final year Biology undergraduate) together with Alan Gurung (final year Philosophy and Politics undergraduate) have won £1000 in the Business Start-Up Journey finals, a competition run by the Kent Business School.

Measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic meant the usual Dragons Den format was switched to a virtual contest, with students pre-recording their pitches for submission to the judges.

The businesses were scored in categories including sustainability, scalability, innovation and financial viability.

From a strong field, the winners were:

  • John Arceno (School of Biosciences) and Alan Gurung with WHYCampus – a way to bring empty high street shops back into use as multi-purpose hubs
  • Lewis Squire with Reality Room – using Augmented Reality to rethink Escape Rooms and bring education to life.

John said: “The 16-week programme has taught me valuable business knowledge that will not only help me to start WHYCampus with my business partner but will also support my future career development. The ASPIRE team are extremely passionate about supporting students on their journey to start their own business. I encourage anyone who either has their own business, interested in starting their own business or keen on developing their business skills to enrol on the Business Start-Up Journey.

The Business Start-Up Journey is supported by philanthropic donation including funding from Santander Universities. It is part of the University’s Study Plus programme and open to students from any subject or level of study.

The Business Start-Up Journey takes students through all the stages of setting up a business – from finding and testing an idea to building marketing plans and understanding financials. It offers a combination of exciting practical and interactive workshops and one-to-one support.

The finalists will continue to be supported by the ASPIRE (Accelerator Space for Innovation and Responsible Enterprise) which is the University’s flagship space for student business support and entrepreneurial skills development.

Congratulations go to John and his business partner on their new venture.