Published on 16/05/2023
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Fazeley Studios, Birmingham
  • BSEEN is a collaboration of four Birmingham universities, led by Aston University
  • It has helped over 800 new businesses to launch through intensive startup bootcamps and a network of business mentors
  • An awards dinner was held on 4 May to celebrate a decade in operation.

An Aston University student and graduate business startup support programme has celebrated its 10th year in operation.

BSEEN, a collaboration of four Birmingham universities led by Aston University, marked a decade of supporting student and graduate entrepreneurs with an awards dinner on 4 May 2023. Mike Bander, an Aston University alumnus and recipient of an honorary doctorate, was guest speaker and gave a keynote speech.

The programme has helped over 800 new businesses to launch through 31 intensive startup bootcamps and a network of 85 business mentors.

The awards night at Fazeley Studios in Birmingham showcased the student and graduate entrepreneurs supported by BSEEN and the mentors and professional services organisations who have worked to help startups through surgeries, drop-ins and round table discussions.

Mike Bandar, international business trainer and speaker and founding partner of Turn Partners, said:

“The power of the collective community has changed “I” into “us”.

“Personal ambition is essential, but the true spirit of entrepreneurship is to unite, collaborate and transform.

“Diversity gives us strength by not seeing competitors as rivals, but partners.”

Professor Zoe Radnor, pro-vice chancellor and executive dean of the College of Business and Social Sciences at Aston University, said:

“I have heard so much about BSEEN that was amazing and I am looking forward to supporting young people to achieve their goals despite European funding for the scheme coming to an end.”

Paula Whitehouse, deputy dean for enterprise and engagement at Aston University, said:

“The programme has delivered a big social and economic impact with businesses ranging from hand-crafted paper goods to medical devices.”

Carolyn Keenan, BSEEN project manager, said:

“It has been a privilege to be involved with the programme from the beginning.”

The eight awards presented during the event went to the following:

BSEEN Rising Star

Winner: Ruth Mestel and Charis McRoberts, Calathea Arts

Highly Commended: Denise Amory-Reid, Amory R Management

BSEEN Champion Award

Winner: Ben Brophy, Ad Valorem Accountants

Highly Commended: Richard Freeman and Jamie Partington, Higgs LLP

Award for Technology

Winner: Alliyah and Amirah Khan, Our Tied Camel

Highly Commended: Safe Queen Team

Award for Creative Industries

Winner: Morgan Grice, Odd Orange

Highly Commended: Andrea Craciun, Sweetest Mango Illustration

Award for Innovation

Winner: David Akraka, Akreon Technology

Highly Commended: Hardeep Randhawa, ProLimbs

Award for Social Impact

Winner: Cleo Morris, Mission Diverse

Highly Commended: Jamaal O’Driscoll, O’D Collective

BSEEN Community Award

Winner: Shovon Wiggan, Inspire-a-Doll

Highly Commended: Janani Prasad,

Award for Small Business Growth

Winner: Bobby Bradstock, Serenity Psychotherapy

Highly Commended: Joseph Housley and Connor Watt, Narce Media and Ben Curtis, Hobby Store Group.

To find out more about the BSEEN programme, click here.

Notes to Editors

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a university since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiary groups – students, business and the professions, and the West Midlands region and wider society. Located in Birmingham at the heart of a vibrant city, the campus houses all the University’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Aleks Subic is the Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

Aston University is ranked 22nd in the UK in the Guardian University Guide, based on measures including entry standards, student satisfaction, research quality and graduate prospects. The Aston Business School MBA programme was ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking.

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Sam Cook,
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