The Business Start-Up Journey: Launch of 2018/19 Student Entrepreneurship Programme

Daniel Rubin, founder and executive chairman of the Dune Group, launched this year’s Business Start-Up Journey in Canterbury with a keynote speech detailing the growth of his international footwear and accessories brand.

Daniel, a Kent alumnus who studied Accounting, spoke to a full lecture theatre about how Dune started as a 20 square metre concession in a fashion store in Oxford Street, London, in 1992. The company now has 40 UK standalone stores, 175 concessions in major global department stores such as Topshop, House of Fraser, John Lewis and Selfridges, and 64 franchised stores and concessions in 10 countries around the world.

In the speech on Wednesday 7 November 2018, as part of Enhancement Week activities, Daniel explained how the growth of e-commerce had a significant impact on his company with shipping options to over 130 different countries – in over 70 currencies – and with German, French and Spanish language websites.

Students and invited guests from regional business took full advantage of the opportunity to ask Daniel questions about his career, with the conversation continuing after the launch in the networking session which followed.

As well as the keynote speech, the audience also heard from two KBS students who have already taken part in the Business Start-Up Journey. James Grice spoke about the founding of Stay On Route, an app which helps visually impaired people to better access public transport, and Nadia Simpson about her natural skin and hair-care company; Nadia Esi.

The Medway campus saw the launch of the Business Start-Up Journey on 31 October 2018, where over 90 students were inspired by student entrepreneur Emmanuel Enemokwu, who talked about the founding of his street-wear business, Jehu-cal, while studying at Kent. The Medway launch was followed by a pop-up market featuring students businesses from hair, make-up and fashion to board games and travel.

The Business Start-Up Journey is a 12-week co-curricular programme open to students from Kent Business School, School of Economics and School of Computing. It is designed to help students navigate the process of setting up their own business – from finding an idea, to testing it and developing a strategy for launch. Areas covered include marketing and brand, start-up costs and financial planning as well as getting ready to pitch to investors.

The Business Start-Up Journey is part of ASPIRE (Accelerator Space for Innovation and Responsible Enterprise), a place for students to get help and advice on business start-up and entrepreneurial skills and behaviours.

Find out more about the Business Start-Up Journey and how you can take part, plus you can also view the photos from the Canterbury launch event.

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