On 11 March, students from the University took part in the London Venture Crawl 2020 to learn more about entrepreneurship and London’s start-up ecosystem.
The London Venture Crawl is an annual event where students and graduates travel on a double decker bus around the city to visit some of London’s top start-up innovation and creative hubs. The attendees were able to explore London’s start-up network first-hand and meet top entrepreneurial leaders.
London Venture Crawl was an initiative started by King’s College London now includes participation of over 16 London and Manchester Universities. The Creative Enterprise Centre organises University Westminster annual crawl – selecting student participants and graduates from across the University. This year was special as youth entrepreneurs from Manchester based Oldham Enterprise Trust joined the University’s bus; building on the CEC mission of to contribute to inclusive and diverse entrepreneurship opportunities.
The first stop on the Venture Crawl was Kerb, a membership organisation who aim to create a legitimate platform for independent street food businesses and improve the quality of food served on London’s streets. The attendees were given a tour around the building before a talk by Ollie Hunter, Kerb’s Business and Development Manager, about Kerb’s mission to support London’s most innovative street food businesses.
The next stop was Experience Haus, who deliver affordable education and spaces for self-improvement through applied learning courses covering a variation of digital expertise. The attendees were given a workshop on pitching and public speaking by Reihana Muryani, Marketing Executive at Experience Haus. The groups were then split into teams of six to practice their business pitch before pitching in front of their peers. The winner of the pitching session was Alvaro Caiza, who later represented the University at the Venture Crawl pitching competition.
The attendees then travelled to Second Home, a creative workspace and cultural venue, where they heard from Mahadi Manyokole, Community Manager at youth marketing agency Livity, about the company’s journey towards helping young people in the creative industries and the opportunities available for social collaboration and impact. Afterwards, they took part the Venture Crawl Quiz titled ‘Who Wants to be an Entrepreneur’, the winner of which was Geal Bwelesi from the Oldham Enterprise Trust.
The next stop was Spitalfields Market, where the students and graduates spoke to the people running the market stalls and small businesses before heading to their next stop at Underpinned, a platform for freelancers using innovative technology to improve education and networking. Attendees heard from Albert Azis, CEO of Underpinned, about the journey of building a team, strategy for growth and raising investment.
The final destination on the Venture Crawl was Plexalcity to join over 300 students and graduates from the participating Universities to network and for the 2020 Venture Crawl pitching competition, where one person from each university pitched their business idea. Hayley Jones, Student Enterprise Adviser at Loughborough University and Kadeza Begum from the University of East London joined the attendees for a networking session.
Taylor Semelsberger, winner of the 2019 Venture Crawl and Fashion Business Management MA graduate, gave a presentation with some valuable tips and advice to the finalists of the pitching competition. After graduating from the University in 2018, she founded Miro Solutions UK, a software-based company that uses augmented reality to help customers choose the correct size when online shopping.
The winner of the pitching competition was Emi Tanimura from London College of Fashion.
Alvaro Caiza, the Venture Crawl Pitch Finalist from the University of Westminster and Founder of On Board, said about the event: “Being a Venture Crawl Pitch Finalist was nerve-wracking at first but when I got on stage everything went well. I was really happy with the support and reception I got from the audience. The best advice I’d give to anyone pitching next year is to make use of the 90 seconds you’re given to present your idea. Make sure you identify your problem and solution. You should pitch with lots of energy and connect with the audience because they are willing to learn from you and hear your business idea. It’s a fun experience, so just enjoy it.”