Faik Aktulga – Exotic animal experiences
Faik studied Business Management at the University of Brighton and then took a Masters in International Event Management. His business Wild Fangs takes exotic animals into schools and nurseries and uses them to teach children about the natural world in a fun and interactive way.
“We are based in London,” says Faik, “where often children do not get as much of a chance to interact with nature as they should do. This means we can provide a valuable experience in expanding children’s interest in exploring nature.”
Faik is self-reliant in all aspects of the day-to-day running of the business. “As a sole trader I am responsible for finance, marketing, sales, admin, providing the visits to clients and not to mention looking after all the animals! When you get recommendations through word of mouth, it feels great knowing you are doing a good job and people are talking about your business.”
beepurple supported Faik through one-to-one meetings to discuss his business plan. “With the help of the beepurple team I was able to get things up and running. I also won a business development grant which enabled me to invest in marketing for the business.”
Melanie Smith - Walk-In-Book creator
Melanie studied Graphic Communication. While a student she created a storytelling product for children, which she called a ‘Walk-in-Book’. “It provides children with a set of creative tools to stimulate creative thinking, learn about story making and engage collaboratively with parents and peers in a non-competitive and fun activity,” says Melanie.
“Probably my biggest business challenge was finding a supplier who could make my product for a price which would allow me to make a small profit from the sales. It is a complicated product, with many elements to it, and producing it on a small scale was a huge hurdle for me.”
Melanie says one of the best things about running her own business has been seeing her dream become a reality. “beepurple have given me the confidence to pursue my idea, practical support in the form of training and workshops, and have always been at the end of a phone, or email to help me when I've needed any help or advice. I wouldn't have got this far without them!”
Oscar Blazquez Sanchez – Food importer
Oscar studied Business Information Systems, graduating in 2013. His company Iberica Spanish Food is an award-winning importer of authentic and traditional Spanish products. “Our aim is to offer a unique range when we source authentic Spanish food by tasting and choosing only the best,” says Oscar. “Our portfolio includes more than 250 unique products, from 50 different suppliers that have been carefully selected in person.”
Oscar says he biggest challenge was setting up the business. “My lack of experience in caused me a lot of headaches, especially as I did not know the UK business system. I recommend to have a mentor, it will help a lot. From negotiating prices with suppliers to making sales, doing the bookkeeping as well as deliveries, having meeting with investors or uploading a van – at the early stage of the business, you have to do it all!”
He attended beepurple’s summer course just after a few months trading. “During the course I had the opportunity to expand my knowledge in marketing, financial forecasting and business planning and put all that knowledge back in the business. After the summer course, I had several one-to-one support sessions offered by the beepurple team where we discussed various business concerns. This support was crucial.”
Jaspreet Paul – Digital startup founder
Jaspreet studies Business with Economics and has set up UniRoomie, an accommodation finder app for students, during his studies. “We match students based on interests and preference. We don’t just help students find rooms we help them find roommates. My vision for the future is to scale to as many universities as possible.”
Being at university and being an entrepreneur has proved challenging. “My time is stretched between university work and business,” says Jaspreet. “I’ve learnt to use my time wisely whether it was being punctual or just meeting deadlines. I started planning out my week and what I would have to get done by each day and it started to become a habit.”
Jaspreet says beepurple has helped whenever he needed advice or help. “When I needed help with pitching my idea, I took advantage of a lot of the one-to-one sessions and turned it out to be a success. My advice to others is don’t be afraid to fail. Try to get as much feedback as possible and don’t feel you have to be good at everything – have the right people around you to help you.”
Karen Burrett – Podiatry clinic owner
Karen graduated from the University of Brighton with a BSc (Hons) in Podiatry. She runs her own clinic, First Foot Clinic in Shoreham-by-Sea.
“In podiatry, there are several avenues of employment on offer,” says Karen, “and whilst I initially started my career as a self-employed associate, I have been running my own clinic, alongside my husband Martin, for the past five years. We provide a professional, friendly and caring specialist podiatry service to treat a wide range of conditions affecting the foot and lower limb.”
Setting up the clinic was a challenge, says Karen. “Although we each had skills and knowledge that together could be beneficial in this process, we both had a lot to learn along the way. For us, I think the biggest challenge was putting together a business plan. beepurple has been a support to us over the years.”
Karen attended UltraViolet, beepurple’s summer startup course. “I have also been in touch at times when developing the business and when I had a product development idea. I was able to have a one-to-one session to discuss this with an expert in the field who gave excellent advice on the processes, cost and legalities of product development.”