Students with a passion to start their own business will be able to call on advice from people who have done just that thanks to a new network launched at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).
DMUworks Enterprise Network links founders with entrepreneurial students who will share advice, deliver talks at DMUworks Enterprise events and take part in regular activities such as podcasts and the new startup schools.
The new mentors for the 2020/21 academic year, starting this autumn, are:
Jake Karia – Jake is MD of the national award-winning Jake & Nayns’ food. The company makes and sells foods for high street restaurant chains, airlines, and hotels.
Jessica Okoro – Jess is a DMU alumni who launched Be Science, a pioneering movement inspiring young people to explore STEM subjects. She’s worked all over the world.
Louise Holland – the founder and CEO of Holland & Alexander Marketing, an international events and marketing company – they also run DMU’s innovative graduation ceremonies.
James White – former winner of The Apprentice, James runs Right Time Recruitment and has already participated in a number of initiatives from DMUworks Enterprise.
Matthew Smalley – another DMU alum, Matthew founded language translation service Capeesh so companies could help new hires adapt faster to working in a different country. He is based in Oslo, Norway.
Gabby Miller – Gabby has years of experience in marketing and PR and is the founder of Cool as Leicester, a site promoting the city, its restaurants, shops, music scene.
Jason Nesbitt – DMU alum Jason launched LoyalFree an app which supports independent shops – it’s used across Leicester and has launched in several other cities.
Jenny Cross – Jenny is the CEO and founder of Cross Productions, a company which runs events and marketing focused on the corporate world.
The DMUworks Enterprise Founders will work alongside the student and graduate enterprise team. The founders will be called on to help judge DMU’s new Enterprise Awards, and they will be champions for student enterprise at external events.
Simon Baines, DMUworks Enterprise manager said: “The new DMUworks Enterprise Network is the latest of our many new initiatives and provides even bigger scope for us to support our fantastic students and graduates whether they want to start or grow a business, or develop entrepreneurial skills that will help them in the workplace.
“I am so thrilled that all of these incredible founders have leapt at the opportunity to support our mission and it is a testament to DMU that they wish to do so with so much enthusiasm.
“Introducing our DMUworks Enterprise Founders is just the first stage in establishing our network and we can’t wait to get started with our new activities once the next Academic year begins in the Autumn. DMUworks Enterprise never stands still and we have so much in store for our students and graduates for the year ahead.”
Jason Nesbitt, founder of LoyalFree, said he was delighted to be on board. He said: “Studying Computer Science at DMU was easily one of the best choices I’ve ever made in my entire life. The course provided outstanding knowledge and the lecturers & friends I made whilst there have been a constant inspiration to drive me to create a successful and efficient business.
“I’ve always wanted the opportunity to give back to the University and support enthusiastic students and graduates. So, I’m ridiculously excited to be part of the DMUworks Enterprise Network and to see and hear what DMU’s innovators are working on”.
Jake, Founder of Jake & Nayns, said: “After having spent years building a successful business and brand all within Leicester I feel that DMU has an excellent talent pool and it would be great to work with them to strive in Leicester and grow our wonderful city”.
Louise Holland added: “Holland Alexander has been an employer and placement provider for De Montfort University for over a decade and know first-hand the high quality of its students. Coming from the dynamic creative sector, I hope to provide support and guidance to this exciting, next generation of entrepreneurs and business makers.”
Jessica Okoro said: “I remember starting my business at university, it was a very thrilling period. I look forward to sharing what I learnt and supporting more students to achieve their entrepreneurial goals.”
Gabby Miller added: “I firmly believe that Leicester is a brilliant city to launch your career in, with plenty of opportunities for growth and progression. Through running Cool As Leicester I’m fortunate to meet business owners and entrepreneurs across a range of sectors and I’m looking forward to supporting those talented DMU students as they look to launch their own business journey.”
Any student or graduate looking for 1-2-1 support with their business idea can make an appointment with the DMUworks Enterprise team via MyGateway. The team have launched a number of new activities over the last 12 months including online summer schools, TEDxDemontfortUwomen and DMU’s Entrepreneurship Day. Register for their mailing list here.