Aston graduate, Mike Bandar, has recently managed to secure a place on a high profile and prestigious programme with the New Entrepreneurs Foundation
based in London. The aim of the programme is to give 25 of the UK’s brightest, entrepreneurially minded young people the opportunity to work for a year with some of the country’s leading entrepreneurs. During the 12 months the young entrepreneurs will gain access to training from top companies such as
Deloitte and McKinsey, attend guest lectures from top business leaders and be given opportunities to network and make useful connections. A reception at 10 Downing Street for the 25 young entrepreneurs is another highlight of the programme.
Mike is already Founder and Director of My Health Cards, a service which allows sufferers of allergies and intolerances to create bespoke cards detailing their exact requirements, enabling waiters and chefs to understand and cater for their dietary needs. Building on the success of My Health Cards Mike will soon be launching FreeFromUK, a socially focussed website which aims to increase awareness and quality of life for allergy sufferers. The website will be driven by the needs of the community it serves, allowing them access to information about their allergies, discounts on specialist foods and a restaurant/café finder service. Currently the website is still in the beta stage of development, but a sneak preview can be seen at www.freefromuk.com
In setting up My Health Cards Mike received support from enterprise incubator BSEEN. BSEEN, based at Birmingham Science Park Aston, enables students and graduates to realise and achieve their entrepreneurial ambitions through providing them with one to one inspirational mentoring, expert advice, a business grant, office space and valuable links to wider entrepreneurial networks. Aston University are currently funding BSEEN to provide support to a cohort of 10 new businesses from May 2011 – October 2011. Mike found the services offered by BSEEN to be extremely valuable in progressing My Health Cards and particularly enjoyed the supportive relationships he developed with other businesses within the BSEEN cohort. Mike says, ‘the network of businesses and entrepreneurs on the science park is a great source of support and knowledge. The entrepreneurs within the BSEEN incubator space have very different strengths and skill sets and this enabled us to learn from one another and offer advice and guidance to our fellow entrepreneurs.’
Mike hopes to put the experience and connections he will gain over the next 12 months to good use in growing and developing FreeFromUK when the New Entrepreneurs programme is over. Mike also sees a return to Birmingham as part of the plan, citing the supportive environment and interesting network of businesses at the Birmingham Science Park as a key motivating factor.