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Meet the young entrepreneurs moving to the next level

SUPPORT: Natwest Entrepreneurial Spark London Hub launch

FOUR OF the entrepreneurs who attended Natwest's Entrepreneurial Spark London hub launch in an attempt to take their businesses to the next level were Barbara Njau, Monisha Mocaro, Zoe Leigh Smith and Sasha Krishnan.

Speaking exclusively to The Voice, the four ladies shared their thoughts on initiatives supporting small business and the development of their enterprises.


Barbara Njau, 29

How did you hear about Entrepreneurial Spark London Hub and the services that it provides?

I came across a podcast named 'Women in Business,' hosted by June Sarpong and NatWest. I was looking for inspiring stories about businesses ran by women, so I downloaded and listened to them all and each business owner repeatedly mentioned the great support they received from Entrepreneurial Spark. I researched and found out that the London hub was being launched so I applied to be part of the first cohort.

Tell us more about your business and how it was founded

My business, First Rate Tutors, is a London-based educational services company that connects professional tutors to students in primary and secondary schools, as well as colleges, universities and adult learners. We vet and connect professional tutors who place a high value on delivering great customer service to students across Greater London.

How do you think initiatives like Entrepreneurial Spark can further support small businesses?

Initiatives like Entrepreneurial Spark are invaluable: receiving free office space, office facilities and getting advice from mentors is crucial. If more initiatives offered small business owners this kind of access it would be fantastic.


Monisha Robinson, 27

How did you hear about Entrepreneurial Spark London Hub and the services that it provides?

I was advised by my business mentor OBE Heather Melville to apply for the program as she felt I was ready to take my business to the next level. Since participating in the program, I have met other aspiring entrepreneurs and have attended various business tailored workshops.

Tell me more about your business and how it was founded

Mocaro is a British-made luxury accessories brand for men. I conceived the idea after studying design at the London College of Fashion, where I conducted some research into the men’s market and noticed that they’re becoming more fashion conscious than ever before. So I began to create my accessories fused with luxury fabrics and jewellery, which are perfect for special occasions such as black tie events, weddings, award ceremonies and corporate events.

How do you think initiatives like this can further support small businesses?
Programs like Entrepreneurial Spark make a positive impact for entrepreneurs and I believe initiatives like this will continue to help small businesses develop further.


Zoe Smith, 36

How did you hear about Entrepreneurial Spark London Hub and the services that it provides?

I came across Entrepreneurial Spark just as I was searching the Internet. I'd just graduated from the School for Social Entrepreneurs earlier this year so I knew the value of being in a space where people with a passion for innovation can connect and inspire each other.

Tell us more about your business and how it was founded

Maida brings traditional West Indian staples like cocoa tea and raw cocoa butter to an international audience of health-conscious consumers by sourcing the finest ingredients directly from organic farmers and cooperatives in Grenada. I wanted to create a range of products that would revolutionise the way cocoa is experienced by consumers and growers alike.

How do you think initiatives like this can further support small businesses?

The programme already offers an immense amount of value to small businesses so I think it's up to entrepreneurs to grab the opportunity with both hands and make the most of it. For example, thanks to Entrepreneurial Spark, I've already hustled a meeting with the KPMG small business team who gave me invaluable advice and are open to providing on-going support. There's no way I'd have been able to pay for their services out of my own pocket.


Sasha Krishnan, 26

How did you hear about Entrepreneurial Spark London Hub and the services that it provides?

I found out about Entrepreneurial Spark while researching for grants and business advice for those needing help to start up. They had opened hubs all around the country and I saw they were planning to launch one in London while reading their services on their website. I filled out their online application explaining my business idea and that I was looking to get investment ready and was put onto their Sprint Programme.

Tell us more about your business and how it was founded

I am in the process of setting up ‘GASSED, a free weekly magazine that will be distributed outside London Tube and train stations focusing on UK urban lifestyle and culture. I came up with the idea while commuting to and from work and reading the free magazines handed to me and feeling that I couldn’t always relate to the content. I spoke to friends & family and shared the idea on my social media networks and found that there is a huge need for a magazine of this kind.

How do you think initiatives like this can further support small businesses?

Initiatives like this are extremely important however; Entrepreneurial Spark, which is powered by NatWest, is unique as it provides entrepreneurs with the tools and the correct mindset to run a successful business. There are no other companies, charities or social enterprises that I know of that offers you the amount of support and services that Entrepreneurial Spark do for free.

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