Entrepreneurship at the School of Business and Management, Queen Mary
Looking for entrepreneurial ideas and inspiration? Look no further. We asked some of our current students and alumni to share their stories of pursuing their business ambitions while at the School of Business and Management. Read about their entrepreneurial journeys here.
BSc Business Management, class of 2017
Queen Mary's location is second-to-none when it comes to entrepreneurial activity in London. The Mile End campus sits a mile from Tech City in Shoreditch, Old Street and Farringdon, the Fintech clusters in Canary Wharf and the new innovation complex – Plexal – at Here East.
What's amazing about the start-up community in London, is that it's very approachable and incredibly diverse from both a sector focus and human talent perspective. Once you understand how to navigate it, you'll be surprised how quickly things can happen. Doing your research before approaching any company or individual will instantly put you on the right path as you'll gain a surprising amount of good will and credibility from founders or executives.
If you have an understanding of their industry and how the landscape is evolving. One of your greatest advantages at this stage is your age. The scene thrives on continuously having a fresh perspective. Being able to see how technology is shaping the world and the trends that are emerging. Realise, you have a fresh pair of eyes, untainted by experience. In other words, be yourself.
- You try to get an insight into the culture of a place - a great talking point. This will help you to succinctly and precisely communicate how you can add value to their organisation or perhaps, on a personal level with them.
- You can demonstrate a ‘growth mindset’ – i.e. the willingness and humility to constantly learn from others and failure, and the ability to quickly adapt to constant change.
- You can demonstrate initiative - it shows you can make things happen!
Having said all of the above, don't overthink it. Get out there, pop up at events. Use your location to your advantage. Have fun and chat to lots of people. If you say you'll follow up on something, make sure you do. Start building your network from day one, full of high quality relationships and further down the line (whether that’s tomorrow or in a year) things will naturally fall into place.
BSc Business Management, class of 2019
The idea of Veganook’s came up during my first year. As many students do from time to time, one very lazy night I decided to order food to my room. Being a vegan, I found the process quite difficult, since there was not an on-demand food delivery app that could ensure a no-egg, no-dairy and no-honey meal. Seeing the recent explosion of the vegan and vegetarian food scene in London made me think about the unmet market that food delivery for people like me represented. Even though I did not have a strong background on how to start up a company, I decided to give it a try. My main idea was to satisfy vegan and vegetarian consumers who could not enjoy (and trust) a food delivery platform. Therefore, the aim was to only deliver vegan and vegetarian food, giving the customer full information about what they were going to order online. Later on, we thought that, in addition to restaurants, adding grocery stores to the platform would be a great opportunity to reach a wider range of customers.
Of course, this was not as easy as it sounds; I first had to pitch my idea and gain buy in for initial investment. After that, we worked for months on design, coding, creating a brand image, finding a way to deliver our orders without losing tons of money and finding our customers (both restaurants and users) in Barcelona – my hometown, where Veganook’s would start off its operations.
In October 2017, we delivered our first order. Our website went live in January this year. Three months later, we had delivered 160 orders, 100 of these delivered in March. In that time, more than 500 users registered on our website. Our next goal is to establish our operations in Barcelona and, before the start of the summer, expand our service to Madrid, Spain. London will be our next stop after that.