What drives entrepreneurs and their ambitions, and the realities of starting a business were under the spotlight in ASPIRE as part of events marking Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) 2023 (13-17 November).
Students and graduate entrepreneurs came together to mark the worldwide event which had the theme ‘Entrepreneurs Thrive Here’ and promoting Inclusive Entrepreneurship, encapsulated by the GEW UK 2023 strapline: ‘Access All.’
On Wednesday 15 November, ASPIRE-supported students and graduate business owners took part in a dynamic panel discussion sharing their experiences.
The panel included Kent Business School graduates, Toufan Bracke and Rens Van Steenes, founders of Pomme de Frere, a street food business offering authentic Belgian frites.
They were joined by Munya Mwaijumba, a Journalism student and founder of the online beauty platform – Glimmer – which is connecting independent hairdressers with customers – and Ike Dhave, a KBS student and founder of the streetwear brand – Playhard.
ASPIRE Project Officer, Artur Slowinski, hosted the event, guiding entrepreneurs to share their stories and insights with the audience of fellow students. They delved into topics such as developing sustainable business ideas and turning them into reality.
Toufan emphasised the importance of entrepreneurial mindset, sharing how their venture was born out solving a gap in the market for evening food in St Andrews. He said: “There is nothing more rewarding than the feeling when we charged our first customer one pound”.
Munya advised aspiring entrepreneurs to start working on a business venture as early as possible, adding: “there is always something to do when you’re an entrepreneur, start as early as possible as you don’t have much on”.
Ike highlighted the importance of strong social media presence, explaining: “We launched our business without even having a physical product, thanks to the successful social media campaign”.
Following the panel discussion, ASPIRE hosted the weekly Business Start-Up Journey workshop. The ASPIRE’s programme is designed to grow and develop entrepreneurial skills. The journey ends with an exciting pitching competition on 20 March 2024. Discover more about the Business Start-Up journey.