Business Start Up Journey Canterbury Launch an Emay-zing Success

Founder of Jehucal thrills the audience of the launch event for the Business Start Up Journey at ASPIRE

The Business Start Up Journey launched at our Canterbury Campus on Wednesday 19 October and included special guests Emmanuel Enemokwu, founder of Jehucal and Business Start Up Journey winners last year Lorenzo Chinole and Simona Paraskevopoulou, the creators of Plantix. 

A packed lecture theatre attended the launch which included a fun business knowledge quiz, keynote speeches, networking and buffet.

“You might have an idea for a business, you might not, but it doesn’t matter. We are looking at solving problems in the world around us and how we can turn our passion, our inspiration or our hobby into a business.

“You will understand how to create a solution, test solutions talking to customers and learn how to build a business around this. Wednesday afternoons will never be the same again!” said Rebecca Smith, External Engagement Manager and one of the ASPIRE team.

Rebecca Smith compered the event

The 15-week Business Start Up Journey programme through ASPIRE (Accelerator Space for Innovation and Enterprise) is based in Kent Business School in the Sibson building, Canterbury and at the Medway campus but is open to all university students.

The initiative is a step-by-step guide to starting a business, teaching students skills that are required to be a successful entrepreneur through interactive workshops and classes delivered by ASPIRE’s entrepreneurs in residence, Jo and John both leaders in the fields of innovation and business. The programme ends with a pitching competition to win £1,000 funding.

Last year’s winners, Computer Science student Lorenzo Chinole and Artificial Intelligence student Simona Paraskevopoulou, created a plant self-watering device that is operated via an app. They spoke candidly about creating a business with a simple idea that won against some stiff competition and answered many questions from the audience.

Last year’s winners talking about their business, Plantix

“We were in our everyday lives and we decided to get some plants to improve our house,” said Simona. “But we just couldn’t water them enough to keep them alive. Around that time we also did the Start Up Journey and we realised we had a business idea.”

“We gathered some ideas and we realised less is more, keep it simple, everyone who comes into this programme and feels they might be the next big thing, but keep it to a minimum, find something everyone has an issue with and find a solution. Make something good and go from there,” concluded Lorenzo.

The final – and much anticipated- keynote speech was delivered by Emmanuel Enemokwu, founder of successful streetwear brand Jehucal who sparked excitement in the room with his story of  university start up to six figure brand worn by likes of the Arsenal team, collaborating with Nike and Footasylum and featuring in magazines like Vogue.

Emay credits the Business Start Up Journey as launching his success

“Where I lived was a very affluent area, kids were wearing Prada to school, I was mocked for not wearing designer labels. I couldn’t afford it so I would sit on my computer all day and look at how they were made,” said Emay “Age 15, I tweeted that I wanted my own clothing brand and it’s still there to this day.”

Emay continued to explain how ASPIRE and his business education played a pivotal role in launching his dream.

“I thought I’d go to university and get the skills I needed to start my own brand studying Accounting.  I made my first t shirt and worked in pizza shop to get me by before I ploughed everything into the brand.

“The feeling of going from a sketch in a notepad to feeling something physical in my hand is is unmatched to anything. It was like a drug to me.

“I found out about the Business Start Up Journey and joined. That’s one of the best choices I made during my life. It took the brand from being a hobby to being an actual structured company.”

From tricky staffing situations to issues with supply, Emay made it clear that the path to success wasn’t always easy providing a relatable and inspiration presentation that saw him inundated with questions from the engaged audience.

The launch ended food and networking as many students signed up to attend the weekly sessions, held in the ASPIRE space at Sibson and in room at the Medway Building.

Do you want to develop a business idea or launch a start-up? Are you interested in learning more about entrepreneurship and sustainable innovation? Then ASPIRE, the University-wide space for entrepreneurship and start-ups is here for you.

Read about our ASPIRE launch at Medway here.

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