Inaugural event celebrates member success and champions entrepreneurship

Inaugural event celebrates member success and champions entrepreneurship

The inaugural SETsquared Exeter Celebration Dinner took place on the evening of Thursday 12 May at the Mecure, Southernhay Hotel, Exeter. It was an opportunity for SETsquared Exeter founders, advisors, and staff to get together and celebrate the successes of member businesses. It was also a chance to thank the fantastic professional services that work closely with SETsquared Exeter including Advisors-in-Residence and Entrepreneurs-in-Residence.

The evening began with networking, followed by a three-course dinner. Guest speakers, Dr Anusha Shah and Yasir Imran took to the floor to present on their own journeys to entrepreneurship.  They spoke of the significance of Environmental Social and Corporate Governance (ESG), how being an entrepreneur forces you to stay ahead of the curve and take a crash course in resilience. For the couple, doing good and giving back was a major part of the shift to becoming entrepreneurs.

Speaking of the opportunity to present and engage with SETsquared Exeter members, Dr Anusha Shah said: “We were hugely impressed with the work SETsquared Exeter is doing to help Entrepreneurs drive innovation towards sustainable future. It was heartening to see ESG at the core of various initiatives.”

Next, SETsquared Exeter members, Vizopay and OWNI presented on their own stories, including how SETsquared Exeter had supported their growth and development.

Joe and Salah Gobara, Founders of Vizopay revealed how Vizopay is on a mission to tackle climate change by making sustainability effortless. Their app makes every payment carbon neutral for free. Joe and Salah initially got engaged with the SETsquared Exeter team through one of the SETsquared Exeter Entrepreneurs Network events in London headed up by Emily Davies. The events provide a collaborative community for those now living and working in London. Joe and Salah live and work in London but also regularly commute to work in Exeter at SETsquared Exeter’s accelerator, The Hive.

Vizopay commended SETsquared Exeter’s tailored business acceleration support including the encouragement from Luke Lang, their dedicated Entrepreneur-in-Residence. In 2021, the brothers raised more than £126K via Crowdcube to advance Vizopay to the next level.

Kalkidan Legesse is a firm advocator of SETsquared Exeter, having established her first enterprise, Sanchos in 2015 whilst studying at Exeter, supported by the Student Startup Team.  A purpose-led organisation, Sanchos was born to support ethical fashion and provide a sustainable alternative to the ‘fast fashion’ industry.

Kalkidan’s understanding of the fashion industry enabled her to understand the bitter truth of the used clothing industry, with only 20% of clothing donated to charity shops getting resold. Kalkidan founded OWNI to combat the resale clothing industry and give back to the consumer, environment and the economy. Based on the concept of a digital wardrobe, OWNI enables clothing to be resold at the click of a button, tackling the amount of clothing waste produced by the fashion industry and making sustainable fashion more affordable.

Kalikidan highlighted SETsquared for championing diversity in entrepreneurship and thanked the team for their support in helping her to achieve her ambitions. OWNI has just secured £270K to release a mobile app in September 2022.

The evening drew to a close with further networking and a promise to return the celebrations in 2023 to highlight the achievements of SETsquared Exeter members, both new and long standing.

Commenting on the evening, Joe Pearce, Head of Business Support said: “It was a thoroughly enjoyable event and the opportunity to catch-up in person with many of the SETsquared Exeter members and partners was fantastic. We have a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem and having so many members together was brilliant.”

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