On Thursday 3 March, the much-anticipated networking event for ARU London’s Enterprise Club was held in the evening via Zoom. The Club was launched back in December 2021 for existing business owners comprised of current ARU London students and alumni. The aim was to bring these entrepreneurs together to create and foster a network of peer-support and collaboration, to celebrate their achievements, and for the university to design a needs-led programme of workshops and support to empower the members of the Club to take their businesses to the next stage of development and growth.
The event was opened by our Principal, David Sexton, who welcomed everyone and then passed the baton to Enterprise Manager, Trudi Hamer. Trudi set out the plan for the evening; to hear from two Club members about their personal journeys with a focus on their challenges and successes and then break into groups with an academic facilitator: Andy Johnson, Head of the Business School, and Neil Jones and John Threlfall, both Senior Lecturers with extensive experience in running their own businesses. Each group would meet to introduce their businesses, discuss their challenges, and then, via a nominated group spokesperson, feedback to the larger group at the end of the session. The purpose of this was to shape the content of the future quarterly network meetings.
First up was Soni Nishita, Soni outlined the challenges of setting up her well-established immigration and visa advice service and how as her business has expanded, she has been on a steep learning curve: taking on staff and all that goes with it in terms of HR and payroll, and the legal side of her business: all the licensing required to deliver her services. Soni never has a moment spare, particularly now as she has returned to education, but she would not have it any other way – she loves running her business!
Next Sachin Naik outlined to us his Life Coaching business, which he is just starting. He spoke about his biggest challenges: financing and funding streams. Trudi thanked both speakers and then split the group into breakout rooms for 30 minutes.
Once the breakout sessions were completed, everyone returned to the larger group to share common themes and challenges. Marketing and finance were the most discussed topics. It was agreed by all that the format for the next 2 in-person sessions would be panel-style with a small number of experts in dialogue about relevant subjects followed by Q&A and networking. The meeting in May will be about marketing and include digital marketing and social media as well as B2B marketing. The August event will have a focus on finance and funding streams. This was welcomed by all.
The event was closed by Director Charles O’Dean, whose remit includes employability. Charles expressed how delighted he was with the enthusiasm of the entrepreneurs, could see the potential of the group, and looked forward to future developments.
The Enterprise Club is for existing business-owner entrepreneurs but is part of a wider initiative – the ARU London Enterprise Hub. The Hub is set to launch the next stage of its programme on 17th March 2022, and is aimed at current students at levels 5, 6, and 7 as well as recent alumni: encapsulating aspiring entrepreneurs that we can support with a programme of workshops, guidance and resources to transform their ideas to reality. The long-term vision is to develop these aspiring entrepreneurs into business owners who will eventually join the Enterprise Club.
Sign up for our Enterprise Club here to be eligible for future events and opportunities.