Today’s blog comes from 2nd year Bsc Accounting and Finance student Junnel Andre-Fatah. Balancing his studies with his work, Junnel is also business founder, entrepreneur and managing director…
Tritiki is a student enterprise business co-founded on October 2015. We take pride in providing unique products with a core focus on promoting a healthy lifestyle through fun and different blends of loose-leaf tea.
Last year, I had the pleasure to experience numerous networking opportunities, and became acquainted with investors, key entrepreneurs and businesses which have given me invaluable advice for my business and future. This year, continuing to strengthen my professional development, a lot more doors have opened for myself and my team in Tritiki.
After competing in the Young Enterprise final, Tritiki proudly finished as a finalist on the National Stage of the competition, comprising of 300 start-up contestant companies in total. The competition was a very valuable, eye-opening experience, providing us with a huge learning curve. It also acted as a powerful motivator to further my personal growth, and raise the standards for my team.
Throughout the summer, Tritiki was part of numerous pop-up shop events around the Norfolk region. At the Royal Norfolk Show, I had the pleasure of meeting Evgeny Myshkin (Thamon London) and Paul Donati (Catching a Fish in Norway); two inspirational entrepreneurs who both launched their now successful businesses whilst studying at UEA. Following their advice and journeys to success, as well as continuing to meet other young entrepreneurs, is certainly reassuring. Describing these individuals as inspirational would be an unjust understatement. Evgeny later accepted my invitation to deliver an extremely motivating talk at UEA held by the Entrepreneurship Society, of which I am proud to be the Co-Founder and Vice President of.
Then came the second year of my university career. I was apprehensive, enthusiastic and incredibly motivated. I was determined to continue the success of Tritiki, bringing it from strength to strength. As Tritiki enters a new phase in its journey, I am delighted to introduce a new inspiring team, with original ideas and great capabilities who are contributing to the growth of Tritiki. Evie Kakkava, Rea Payot, and Phillipa Abrafi.
In the beginning of this year, our new team is extremely proud to have been awarded the £3000 Santander ‘Do it’ funding, following the development of a comprehensive, well researched business plan. This funding will significantly contribute towards our future plans and goals in Tritiki, but will also act as a catalyst for the execution of upcoming business activities. With the help of the Student Enterprise team and Santander, we will be able to achieve our long-term vision of ‘influencing a more ethically responsible society’.
Recently, we took part in the Student Christmas Pop-up Market held at the Student Union, which proved to be very successful for us. My team emitted a strong, positive energy which resulted not only to great sales, but also a warming team spirit that is sure to carry through. This new team dynamic has proven to have strengthened work ethic and working together, we are now able to focus on establishing the most important principle in our company; being an ethically responsible brand which advocates a healthier lifestyle. Furthermore, a positive and proactive team, has allowed me to also focus on other projects.
UEA Entrepreneurship Society
The UEA Entrepreneurship Society has been inactive in previous years. With my student network, and the help from the Student Enterprise team, we decided to come together to build a new team; a team that would invoke inspiration amongst others on campus. The committee currently consists of: Kamala Hjialibayova, Jack Bridges, Guste Cesnuleviciute, Roland Buenafe, Ben Watkin-Wynn, Nikki Watts, Rea Payot, and myself.
Within the committee, we are always trying to come up with new ways to enhance the experience of our members. We also continuously try to hold talks from entrepreneur key note speakers and have previously held talks from Evgeny Myshkin and Barry Dennis. With thanks to our new open partnership with Hethel Innovation, we are awaiting to arrange more talks with key note speakers.
Hethel Innovation is one of the UK’s leading tech incubators, located at Hethel Engineering Centre. Hethel Innovation has kindly agreed to an open partnership with the UEA Entrepreneurship Society, which has opened up many exciting opportunities for the society’s members. Our members will have access to Hethel Innovation’s network, incubation facilities as well as the opportunity to find potential investments for their business ideas.
Furthermore, as a society we are always encouraging entrepreneurial activities, which is why we openly invite our members to discuss their ideas and help them turn them into actions. For example, Mayowa Showumi, one of the members in the society, is currently exploring an idea for beverage options focused on young children. Mayowa realises that there is a lack of ‘fun’ water bottle brands aimed to intrigue children to them, and is looking to build an exciting start-up with the help of the society.
Lastly, the UEA Entrepreneurship Society has just announced its new series The Opportunities Shack. These events will enable the society’s members to take part in entrepreneurial activities where each week, students will be able to bring their ideas, products or services to various locations on campus in order to either sell, or validate them.
In addition, I was recently contacted by Hethel Innovation, the organisation who was in charge of finding a UEA graduate to manage a new business idea generated by Dan Simpson of Norfolk Computer Services (NCS). After exploring things further with Hethel Innovation, I was given a chance to be interviewed for this incredible opportunity. Later, Dan Simpson (Founder and Director of NCS) decided that I would be the best fit to take on the new tech company.
Rent-IT is now a newly-launched business that is situated at Hethel Engineering Centre, and in which I hold the role of Managing Director. Rent-IT provides bespoke IT solutions to SME’s within the region, and as a company, we are planning to build our scope and grow organically. We are also looking to take upon a new direction in the near future, introducing our services within the student market. We’d like to enable students to afford the latest IT equipment available in the market at a monthly low cost price, which will not deprive them of their budget going towards any other student needs.
Lastly, I’ve recently partnered up with a great friend, Jean Roeting (President of the International Students Society) for an exciting new app venture. Countless events occur each day at UEA and in Norwich city which go by unnoticed. From questioning our peers on their knowledge on event happenings, we realised there was a great number of students unaware of any events that were happening at the given time. Also seeing as the student satisfaction rate of UEA was very high, we have decided to build an app aimed at UEA students, intending to benefit them as well as the reputation of UEA’s student satisfaction rate.
What’s On will be an app which will give students access to a platform showing all the events which are either being held at UEA campus or around the city of Norwich at that given moment.
We are very far ahead with the progress of this idea, and have recently developed a prototype which we are going to use in order to secure investments. These investments will help us build and maintain a fully functioning, database orientated app which we are looking to launch by September 2017.
I am extremely grateful for UEA and all the opportunities that I have had the pleasure of experiencing since studying here. I am also thankful for the opportunities Hethel Innovation has brought to myself and the Entrepreneurship Society. To all the entrepreneurs, fellow colleagues, team members and friends with the same business-driven mind-set, thank you for your inspiration and friendship.
Finally, I’d like to say that this entry would not have been possible without the help of a great friend and blogger – Rea Payot.