University project shortlisted for national entrepreneur contest
A project dreamed up by two Middlesex University business students, who wanted London’s Olympic tourists to make the most of the capital’s markets, has been shortlisted for a national entrepreneur competition.
MBA students Ravi Jay, 29, and Asaf Nahum, 31, were concerned that the thousands of Olympic visitors descending on London would fall in love with markets like Brick Lane, Camden, Borough and Portobello Road but would struggle taking bulky purchases home in their luggage. And their solution, dreamed up in the classroom, has now become a surprise success amongst small retailers and market traders with a growing web community allowing traders to sell their wares online.
With the Olympics approaching, myMzone.com now has more than 60 merchants signed up with more approaching them every day. The site allows traders to sell a wide range of products seen at London’s markets from clothing and toys to beauty accessories, homeware and leather. It has already seen purchases from shoppers across the world including in Australia, Japan, Singapore, US, Canada, Sweden and Hong Kong.
Ravi and Asaf have recently been informed that they had been shortlisted for the National University Entrepreneur competition (NUE2012) which received entries from student entrepreneurs all over the UK. The finals will see the pair deliver their business pitch to a judging panel and a 300 strong audience made up of business experts, entrepreneurs and university students in June. If they win this stage, they will face a Dragons’ Den inspired British Business Embassy event during London 2012, pitching to international entrepreneurs and business people.
Middlesex University alumni Ravi Jay from Camden Town said: “We’re ecstatic about making it to the finals of the National University Entrepreneur competition. We know we’re up against some tough competitors, but we think we’ve got a good chance as our business is truly unique. Such a rapid uptake from small businesses and market traders has been very encouraging and this is testament to the amazing opportunity myMzone offers them.”
The site is proving so popular with market traders as it is free to join, list and display products. Ravi and Asaf aim to sign up the rest of London’s 42 markets in the future and are already seeing interest from markets outside of London, including Glasgow, New York and Jerusalem.
Fellow alumni Asaf Nahum from Highgate added: “Tourists often comment on the uniqueness of London markets and we wanted to share that with the world, while helping to preserve local markets and businesses. The recession has made trading conditions tough and we saw a lot of small businesses struggling. myMzone hopes to alleviate this by opening up these businesses to a larger audience.”
NUE2012, developed by the Training Gateway and the National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education has been established to showcase the best student business ideas or start-ups in events leading up to and during the Olympics. The business ideas will be judged on how they have been inspired by London 2012 and the potential international market for their business.