My journey at UEA started as an undergraduate in 2012 studying BSc Actuarial Science which I proudly completed with a First Class Honours. It was during undergrad that I discovered my entrepreneurial flair and made the decision to carve out a career for myself setting up businesses. I went on to study a Master’s in Enterprise and Business Creation which I completed in 2016.
Knowing I wanted to start a business whilst completing my undergraduate degree, the next sensible step was to look for a Master’s programme that would help me figure out exactly what kind of business I wanted to start, and how to start it with the best odds for success. Enterprise and Business Creation was attractive to me because I was looking for something that was more focused on real experiences rather than just theory. Also, the opportunity to meet new people from different country, working and degree backgrounds was really appealing as it would give me exposure to well-rounded experiences.
First of all, the course itself was new, I was part of the first cohort, so that idea of being part of the first group to experience something that was looking promising to be unique and ground-breaking was certainly attractive to me. I have learnt the discipline that comes with meeting deadlines, the teamwork that comes with working with people from various backgrounds and the networking that comes from just saying ‘hi’ to the person you don’t know, because until you ask, you will not know how they may be of help to you.
Of special note would be the opportunities we had to meet with experts in the areas of accounting and law for business start-ups. What I definitely think tops everything was getting to meet and network with well accomplished and successful entrepreneurs. We got the chance to meet them in person and ask questions. Surely there can’t be anything more motivating than someone of a net worth over £100m telling you that they walked the same path you are about to walk, and they believe you can achieve anything you put your mind to. Networking is an essential element to any businesses success and keeping in touch with my colleagues and lecturers after graduation has proved invaluable.
Since completing my MSc in Enterprise and Business Creation I have gone on to launch my fashion business, Moozinda. This has not been a walk in the park, unless your idea of a walk in the park is having to go through a mixed bag of emotions several times on a daily basis! Being an international student, I had to wait for my Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa to be issued first before I could officially launch my business. I can confidently, without reasonable doubt say that the process of attaining my Tier 1 visa was the most strenuous, stressful and yet rewarding experience I have ever endured.
Whilst I was waiting for my visa to be issued, I worked on the background stuff such as domain names, website building, supplier contracts and social media promotion, to mention just a few! I took up some part-time night shift work in the interim before my business started bringing in enough money. This involved 10-12 hour shifts followed by a day full of appointments and a soon to be born business waiting to be run. I was not surprised I had to do this, it is to be expected in any entrepreneurial journey.
The entrepreneurial journey can be tough, stressful and unpredictable, but the most rewarding thing is when you have an idea in your head, write it on paper, work on it and start seeing the tangible results. Just knowing you have created something, that people actually like and find valuable is very satisfying. It is gratifying to know that I am carving a path for myself where I am in control of most aspects rather than just following someone else’s path or dream.
The course has challenged me to learn new ways of thinking and solving problems. The person I was at the start of the course falls short when measured against the person I am now. I have more confidence in business because I have the essential skills required such as pitching my business, doing the accounts, knowing basic business law and an understanding of the dynamics of entrepreneurship in general.
With thanks to Tinashe for contributing to the NBS blog