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Henry tells us how The Venture Programme helped him start his own business.

Whether you’re interested in becoming self-employed or building a freelance career, The Venture Programme is designed to help you develop all the skills and knowledge you need to successfully work for yourself. Venture events will help challenge your way of thinking, preparing you for whatever comes next in your career journey. These events are open to all students and graduates (within two years of graduating) and you even gain recognition for taking part in Venture activities through The Chester Difference Award!

What attracted you to the University of Chester?

“I had studied here prior to starting my PhD so I was delighted to have the opportunity to continue my studies to Doctoral level. I had a great time studying with the Department of Geography and Development Studies, then with the Business Research Institute and Chester Business School. The University of Chester has taught me ‘how to think’ rather than ‘what to think’. I always felt that I was being challenged to think for myself and to be critical about the subjects I was studying; that is a very transferable skill to possess.”

Why did you decide to start up a business? What was your inspiration?

“I decided to start my business after obtaining a good level of exposure to similar businesses through my studies. I felt that I had developed the necessary skills and attitude to run my own business, so I started as soon as I was able to do so. I was keen to develop a business that would produce a net-positive contribution and Miténgo Coffee is the epitome of that.

I was inspired to start-up by attending a couple of the Venture Programme social meet-ups. I went along to watch students pitch their business ideas and the idea to turn my knowledge into a business just clicked. I was impressed with the level of support that was available and the confidence other students had in themselves and their ideas.”

What is your business name? Can you tell us what you do?

“Miténgo Coffee is a specialty coffee company. We sell ethically sourced coffee to both catering and retail customers and use some of the profits to fund tree planting projects in Malawi. Each 250g of coffee sold will result in one tree being planted. We obtain GPS co-ordinates from our tree planting partner and then place them on our Miténgo TreeMap.

Miténgo’ means ‘trees’ in Chichewa, a Malawian language.”

Why did you take part in the Venture Programme?

“I took part in the Venture Programme because I knew that a lot of students had gone through the process and had gained enormously from the experience. I had known about the Venture Programme for some time, but I didn’t have the right idea to get involved. In fact, I attended some of the Venture Programme events and found out that they were the catalyst that helped me sharpen my business idea and get things off the ground. As I had just graduated, I valued the support that was still available to me and knew that this was a very unique opportunity.”

How did the Venture Programme help you?

“Initially the Venture Programme made me set time aside to work on my business plan to get my business idea off the ground. I also found attending the sessions on each individual aspect of starting and running a business very helpful. There were lots of inspiring people to get advice and knowledge from and I was really impressed with the generosity of the presenters and speakers throughout the process.

I took part in the Venture Pitch 2019 and I was awarded the start-up capital that Miténgo needed in order to place some larger orders with clients. The funding has been crucial in helping the business maintain a healthy cashflow as I needed to buy stock prior to invoicing my clients. In addition, Miténgo won a branding merchandising package by A&M Custom Clothing and trade mark consultancy by Forresters in Liverpool. Now my business looks professional, has the correct trademarks in place to be protected and has a healthy bank balance to go to market with. Furthermore, I met many fantastic people who are now part of my support network, as I am to them. I couldn’t be happier with the experience.”

You can find out more about The Venture Programme and how our Careers and Employability team support our students on our website.

 

 

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