The Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs (IOEE) proudly sponsored Arden University’s Lions Den Business Competition at the start of 2024.

This sponsorship included offering free memberships to the winning and runner-up teams. The initiative is part of Arden University’s broader efforts to support its learners in their entrepreneurial journeys through a series of events throughout the year.

The Lions Den Business Competition provided participating teams with a series of workshops, seminars, and activities aimed at equipping them with essential skills and knowledge. Topics covered included financial management, stakeholder management, and elevator pitches, offering participants invaluable experience in enterprise and entrepreneurship.

Dr Alfred Mbeteh, Senior Lecturer and Lead of the Arden University Enterprise Incubator, spearheaded the initiative, collaborating with the IOEE to inspire students through speeches, appearances, and other engaging methods. Following discussions, the IOEE agreed to provide several winners with affiliate membership, enhancing their professional status and providing access to resources to help establish their businesses.

Celebrating the Winners

The competition, which commenced at the start of the year, culminated in May with the announcement of the winners. The runner-up position was awarded to Sharmeena and Fabio, while Erfan Mohseninejad and Neeka Henry emerged as the overall winners.

Sharmeena and Fabio’s Journey

Sharmeena and Fabio participated as part of a group, overcoming various challenges to develop a promising business idea. Initially working on hypothetical concepts, they discovered a shared interest in creating a digital platform that provides in-house accountancy support. They leveraged the ten workshops offered by Arden University to refine their concept and move closer to their goal.

Fabio highlighted the benefits of the workshops and the support from their mentor, Keith Wong, Programme Leader and Senior Lecturer at the University, who encouraged a focused approach to business development. Keith’s advice to start small and focus on a niche or specific issue resonated deeply with the team. Sharmeena praised the mentorship, stating it provided a solid foundation for their team meetings. Despite the distanced nature of their collaboration, facilitated through text messages, phone calls, and WhatsApp, the project allowed them to work together effectively.

Erfan Mohseninejad and Neeka Henry’s Experience

Erfan Mohseninejad shared a different yet equally enriching experience. Leading his team with Neeka Henry, Erfan navigated the complexities of group dynamics and focused on developing his business idea. The competition offered a safe and risk-free environment to practise his sales pitch, refine his business plan, and explore financial management. He particularly valued the workshop on sales pitching, which helped him define his offering. Despite challenges within the group, Erfan remained determined and ultimately won the competition.

Erfan expressed gratitude for the recognition and the IOEE membership, which provides access to various tools and resources on the IOEE campus. This membership, coupled with the knowledge gained from Arden University, will assist him in crafting planning documents and exploring new entrepreneurial approaches.

Fostering Entrepreneurial Success

The IOEE is honoured to support Arden University, an esteemed IOEE academy, in nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs. This collaboration underscores a shared commitment to fostering a community-based education model where students and alumni support each other and develop their skills together. The IOEE looks forward to continuing its partnership with Arden University, empowering students with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in a competitive market.