On Wednesday 15th December, ARU London launched its Enterprise Hub. The launch event brought together business owners, all of them either students or alumni of our university.
Principal David Sexton opened the event welcoming all members and congratulating them on their achievements, to date. He explained that the services of the ARU London Enterprise Hub would be split into two strands:
Strand One: The Enterprise Club – a network of student and alumni business owners (this collection of individuals)
Strand Two: Support for those wanting to start their own businesses (to be launched early 2022)
He expressed his personal understanding having started businesses of his own in the past, of the struggles and how sometimes this can feel a lonely place – the creation of this community could go towards filling that void. The purpose of this club is to bring together talent to celebrate their achievements, to network and build a sense of community, promote their businesses and drive forward a programme of events and workshops to take their businesses to the next stage of growth and development.
After the Principal had established the aims for the club, we heard from two entrepreneurs.
First of all Lasbrey Ejehu, a co-founder of Valitaly. One of four classmate graduates of ARU London’s MBA International programme, Lasbrey explained that the concept for Valitaly – a retailer of authentic Italian food – came directly from a module – Strategic Marketing and New Business Development Model. It was launched in November 2020 just at the right time and has gone from strength to strength. They have even launched their own brand of coffee. Now it is time for them to expand further. Lasbrey considers that the Enterprise Club can help all members as well as the university – he would like practical support on expansion and to collaborate and explore concepts with other club members.
Next, the group heard from Alina Dumitru, another graduate. She explained that over the years she had started many businesses but her current was the only one that had been successful – she accredited this to her Masters at ARU London, which had given her insights from a different perspective and allowed her to achieve success. Her business, Skintuition, is a collaborative effort between Alina and two overseas partners. They import and distribute high-quality Korean skincare to international markets. Alina’s business is thriving. What she would most like to gain from this club is a sense of community.
To conclude, the Principal expressed his pride and admiration for everyone’s achievements. He noted the array of different businesses, from retailers of goods to providers of services such as IT, data security, recruitment consultancy and life coaching.
An open discussion followed about what members would like to gain from this club. It was decided that the aim would be for a physical event towards the end of January, where members will get to meet each other and share their professional insights and business journeys. At this event, the next steps will be decided in terms of what workshops/themed events can be curated based on members' needs.