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As part of the offering of ARU London’s Enterprise Hub, on Thursday 17 March 2022, the Aspiring Entrepreneurs Club was launched. This Club is for current students in the second and third years of their undergraduate degrees, current postgraduate students, and recent alumni. It is for those considering starting their own business who would benefit from support, guidance, and appropriate mentorship. ARU London’s Enterprise Hub intends to facilitate this by working with ARU London academic staff, external experts, and peer-mentors from the existing network of student and alumni business people who are willing to share stories and tips from their personal journeys. 

The event was opened by Principal, David Sexton, who expressed his delight at the launch of this initiative and championed the benefits of getting involved. Enterprise Manager, Trudi Hamer, gave an overview of the planned activities of the Aspiring Entrepreneurs Club. She outlined the support that would be available. There are going to be workshops, events, competitions, awards, and prizes – it really is an exciting time to become involved. All that is required to access the support is to complete a simple Word template outlining your business idea and return the form to Trudi by email.  

Trudi then introduced Simon Krystman, co-founder of a philanthropic organisation, the 12Ronnies Foundation. 12Ronnies are partnering with ARU London and will be running an all-day event called the Founders Festival on 5th May 2022. The event will comprise several TED-style talks, with plenty of opportunities for networking, and a Q&A. It will be educational, but as the name suggests, it is a festival so will also be fun. The event will be held in person at the East India Dock buildings and also online. Priority is being given to ARU London students and alumni, as other universities will also be invited along and there are limited spaces. However, ARU London students will be required to complete the Word template to be considered, demonstrating that they are serious about setting up their own business(es). The proforma is available via Trudi, please email to request.

Simon Krystman went on to explain that after the Founders Festival those wanting to take their ideas to the next level would receive support from across our joint resources and be invited along to a weekend event in early September called the Start-Up Hackathon. The aim of this event is to launch 100 businesses in 48 hours but, as Simon explained, with the correct preparation, learning gained from the Founders Festival and working on the business across the summer months, it will be achievable. He explained that in the true spirit of entrepreneurialism some people will want to get involved in multiple businesses.

Head of Careers, Lorraine Western, asked attendees to invite their entrepreneurial friends (students and recent alumni) who could benefit. All services are provided by the university, as ARU London wants to support its students to succeed and to celebrate their achievements.  

The floor was opened up to questions, and it was heartening to hear from several students and graduates about their business ideas and what they hoped to gain from the services of the Club. There was a genuine buzz around the Founders Festival and the Hackathon. It was explained that after the completed proformas had been collated and assessed there would be further communications to members about the next steps.   

The event was closed by Director, Charles O’Dean, whose remit includes employability. Charles relayed that he was delighted with the enthusiasm of the attendees. He asked all of those present to spread the word within their peer groups as the beauty of this club is that people can join at any point, providing they meet the entry criteria. Charles also thanked Simon Krystman from our partner organisation and expressed his excitement for the future of the Club including the Founders Festival and Start-Up Hackathon.   

The Aspiring Entrepreneurs Club is for those starting out with a business idea, pre-launch. The university and its partners are offering a support programme to assist members to transform their business idea or ideas, into reality with a focus on ensuring that not only it is viable, but also sustainable. The long-term vision is to develop these aspiring entrepreneurs into business owners who will eventually join the established ARU London Enterprise Club.

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