Indian students find the Spark for new businesses

Global news

Becoming an entrepreneur is an exciting step to take, but every successful business owner needs the right training and support to make their venture a success.

Studying for a master’s level qualification, which strengthens the skills learnt in a first degree is a good approach, and will help students draw on the expertise of their university.

Revannth N Murugesan from Salem, Tamil Nadu, studied an MSc in International Business while Monish Kotak from Mumbai, studied for an MSc Advanced Mechanical Engineering at the University of Leeds.

The University is among the top 100 in the 2019 QS World Ranking and has a support service, Spark, which helps students and graduates to start up and run their own ventures.

Revannth, 23, pictured above, said: “I wanted to feed my entrepreneurial craving with a business degree from a world-renowned university; I couldn’t have made a better choice than the University of Leeds.

“From writing my business plan to awarding funding, and endorsing my Tier 1 graduate entrepreneur visa and guiding me throughout the process, Spark has been a big force in my journey.

Revannth N Murugesan

“Halfway through my course, I came across Spark at the Careers Centre, which is a go-to place for anyone needing support with their career.

“Advisors moulded my passion and helped turn my idea into a successful company - Carbon Performance - which designs and manufactures high-performance components for motorsports, by employing advanced engineering, advanced materials and advanced manufacturing.

“From writing my business plan to awarding funding, and endorsing my Tier 1 graduate entrepreneur visa and guiding me throughout the process, Spark has been a big force in my journey.”

The University of Leeds can sponsor the Tier 1 visa, a major attraction for international students wishing to study and work in the country after graduation.

Revannth secured start-up funding from Spark and since completing his course and launching his business, it has grown to operate in the UK, India, Spain and the Netherlands and continues to expand to new markets.

Monish Kotak

Monish’s Delhop business, an app-based local delivery service aimed at supporting other firms has expanded from five to 100 drivers since it launched with funding from Spark Network. He is looking to launch in Manchester and Birmingham, and is beginning to apply for a Full Entrepreneurial visa.

Monish, 24, pictured above, said: “I chose to study at the University of Leeds as it offered the flexibility of choosing the modules I wanted. Other universities were not offering the same flexibility.

“The reputation and teaching was one of the best in the UK; facilities available to students were marvellous for any research and teaching course.”

He added: “I knew about the Careers Centre and graduate schemes, and the staff helped me update my CV, but my heart was in something that I wanted to do by myself and for the economy.

“Spark awarded me an Enterprise Scholarship and recommended a bootcamp they run for personal development and that started the process for me. I had the team’s help to do everything I needed to launch Delhop and we are growing all the time.”

Spark helped both students to network with investors, including other Leeds alumni, bid for extra funding and grow their business, its services are available to all University of Leeds students.

The service is free and available to all University of Leeds students and Spark does not take equity in the businesses.

Head of Spark, Kairen Skelley, said “Each year we see around 1,500 students who want to start their own businesses and around 70 ventures will get off the ground annually.

“We look after them in our incubator and help them with funding, personal development and networking. It is always very inspiring to see them succeed as young entrepreneurs.”