Name: Isa Hassan
Course: Biological and Medicinal Chemistry
My business specialises in the sale of an organic whey protein product with absolutely nothing else added. It is currently an online business aimed at introducing and highlighting the benefits of organic whey protein compared to conventional supplements with added sweeteners and fillers, which are consumed on a regular basis and are damaging to health.
How did UEA Student Enterprise help you?
UEA Student Enterprise, Finbarr Carter in particular, gave me great insight into avenues I could go down in order to increase awareness and get my product recognised. UEA Student Enterprise also hosts a large number of marketing, networking and business events, which contained a wealth of knowledge for me to implement regarding SEO, social media and adding value to your product for example.
What worries did you have while setting up your business, and how did you overcome them?
I was extremely worried that I would be viewed as a failure by people if the business wasn’t successful, but I realised it’s something I should venture into whilst I’m young on something I care about and would be just another life experience if it went wrong that I could learn from.
What ignited the spark in you to start a new business rather than look for work from someone else?
The idea of being in charge of exactly the type of products I want to sell was highly appealing. I could be sure of exactly what the process involved and could feel the satisfaction of building something and developing something I could be proud of. The idea of developing a health product that not many other mainstream companies produce was appealing as it seemed like a potential gateway into the market.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
What motivates you?
The idea of being able to sell an organic health and fitness product that I believe in and potentially changing people’s attitudes on the price vs health debate. Protein supplements are something consumed by a large number of people, not just gym-goers, and many of them aren’t aware of the ingredients they’re consuming. Changing people’s outlook on this and benefiting their health is hugely motivational for me.
How do you define success?
Being proud of what you’ve accomplished and knowing you’ve made a difference.
Where did your funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? Was UEA part of this?
The capital came from my savings that I had built up from working and gifts over the years. I plan to apply for a UEA grant soon however.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Finally seeing my final product and realising I went through the whole process of starting a business, which is something, I never thought I would do. It made me realise that it is possible to begin anything no matter what fears you have.
What piece of advice would you give to university students who want to become entrepreneurs?
Just go for it. You can learn along the way. You don’t need to know everything before jumping in. There isn’t much to lose at this age as you can always recoup your losses through other ventures you plan on undertaking, whether that be another business or a career. UEA has a whole range of events and advice to help you set up and progress with your business, so it’s a perfect time to do it whilst the help is there.