Name: Daniela Paiva
Course: Enterprise and Business Creation
Cooknst is a vibrant nest for food lovers. We are a digital platform for curated social dining experiences and a marketplace for fantastic food-related products. Our community is made of passionate cooks, artists, food makers, videomakers and foodies.
How did UEA Student Enterprise help you?
UEA Student Enterprise gave me full support on the application process for the Tier 1 Visa. I also attended many workshops, used the facilities and different resources as much as I could and participated in networking events to expand connections and find better solutions. There are many different types of support available there, and I’ve taken the best of all - emotional, professional, psychological, etc. They happen through working sessions, informal chats or the easy going exchange of idea. Currently as a graduate entrepreneur, I often participate in new activities available that can improve and refine my business.
What worries did you have while setting up your business, and how did you overcome them?
Funding is always a crucial issue for a poor entrepreneur, so I worked hard to grab all the funding opportunities available for a graduate student at UEA. I won the Grow it award, which has been essential for the first steps of the business. I also faced difficulties such as finding a team. It’s still a challenge.
What ignited the spark in you to start a new business rather than look for work from someone else?
I was in between jobs in Brazil and I found myself worn out by work environments that made you stressed and unhappy. So I searched for the happiest moments in my life, and I got to the conclusion that they were all around food.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
- Utterly driven by a mission
- Capable of inspiring and bringing people together for a common purpose
- The ability to be a relentless manager to overcome difficulties
What motivates you?
People are one motivation. Since the ideas stage of Cooknst, I’ve been meeting and getting connected to so many enthusiastic collaborators. Another motivation is to work on something that has a true purpose, that is beneficial for the greater good. I’m also very driven by the opportunity to learn, grow, exchange and explore creativity in a positive way.
How do you define success?
Success is when you are able to have a real purpose to wake up every morning and give that extra sweat everyday by doing what you truly love. And of course, achieve a financial reward and recognition that motivates you to keep developing, changing and improving your goals for the better.
Where did your funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? Was UEA part of this?
Yes. I was awarded the Grow it award from the UEA Enterprise Fund, which granted me £7.5k to kick off the early stages of the business.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Winning the Grow it award was somewhat amazing. I can not forget the feeling of recognition and support. From them on I knew it I always going in the right direction. Another fantastic moment in terms of the business was the edition Capitu comes to London of the Mixed Sessions, Cooknst multicultural seasonal experience at The Baldwin Gallery, when we launched the online bookshop Capitolina Books, achieved break even and 35 guests.
What piece of advice would you give to university students who want to become entrepreneurs?
Be prepared to face loads of ups and downs, but never lose sight of your vision.