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Gluten free food and eyewear brand selected 

Santander Entrepreneurship Awards Aston 2017

Two graduates have been awarded £500 each after being selected to represent Aston University in the national Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards. To enter the competition applicants had to submit a business model canvas and a two minute video pitch. 

First class BSc (Hons) International Business & Economics graduate Reena Salhan, set up Green Sisters with her sister Geeta with support from the BSEEN (Birmingham Skills for Enterprise and Employability Network) programme last September. She was selected to represent Aston University in the Pre-revenue category.

Green Sisters are two sisters who are mad about food and love to share. It all stems from their family values and culture – where food isn’t just about eating, it’s about sharing the experience too. They have been challenged by nature and genetics, to bring the vital sharing culture to those with restricted diets. All of their food is free of three ingredients gluten, meat produce and eggs. 

Aditya Kasana, Transport Management graduate set up Josh Fano, a designer eyewear brand with support from BSEEN in 2014. He was selected to represent Aston University in the Post-revenue category. 

Josh Fano offer a modern alternative to traditional eyewear retail. By offering frames directly online, they are able to eliminate unnecessary costs such as licensing fees and other expenses to simply deliver a beautiful design and a handcrafted eyewear directly consumers, at a fraction of the luxury price point. 

Both companies will now be entered into the national Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards, with the opportunity to win up to £82,000 worth of equity-free seed funding as well as mentoring and business support. The shortlist for the next stage of the competition will be announced later this month. 

Carolyn Keenan, BSEEN Project Manager said: “I am really impressed by Reena and Aditya. Both businesses have real commercial potential and we are proud for them to represent Aston University. This is a reflection of the importance the University places on enterprise and entrepreneurial activity. It is great to see both graduates have been supported by the BSEEN programme.”

For further information, contact Aston Enterprise on 0121 204 4452 or enterprise@aston.ac.uk 

BSEEN is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and is available to current students from Aston University, Birmingham City University, Newman University and University College Birmingham and graduates within the last five years from any university living in the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP area.

Photo courtesy of Phil Parnell Photography.