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Living in Manchester as an entrepreneur

I have lived and studied in Manchester for the last 18 years after moving to the UK from Afghanistan. Following college, I did my undergraduate degree at The University of Manchester in International Business, Finance and Economics. After graduation I went on to work in the retail industry for one of the UK’s biggest grocers. Having worked there for a year, I knew I wanted to go back to my entrepreneurial roots and I took that difficult but worthwhile decision to leave my position.

After leaving my graduate role I went on to partner up with a friend to launch catering company in Manchester. It was during this time that I met the recruitment team at AMBS and they were really helpful in giving me an insight into the MBA. As an entrepreneur, having academic credibility alongside your drive and work ethic can add to your armour and give you an advantage. This was one of the key reasons for me wanting to do an MBA. The Full-time MBA is one of the top rated in the world and it is on my doorstep, which made it an easy decision to choose to study here.

Living in Manchester has been a great learning experience. I have had the pleasure of seeing Manchester evolve over the last 18 years. It is such a vibrant and diverse city with a thriving economy, which is only going to grow with massive developments currently underway. I have had the benefit of building my network here which has been a key part of my journey. I cannot stress enough how useful a good network can be. There have been many times where I have faced challenges in business and people in my network have been a massive help. Manchester is the worker bee city and when things get tough, we all pull together. This is the Manchester spirit.

The word entrepreneur gets thrown around a lot and has glamorous connotations at times. But being an entrepreneur can be tough. It requires consistency and a strong work ethic amongst other skills. I have always had this drive since a young age, whether it was in sports or academically to be the best. I think setting myself big targets left me no choice but to work ten times as hard and develop that work ethic. From my first entrepreneurial activity as a 14-year-old selling sweets to my class mates to an e-commerce business on eBay at the age of 17, I learnt skills that have helped me throughout my life to this day.

Being an entrepreneur is not easy but it is definitely worth the journey. Those small moments of success can outweigh years of hard work. My advice to anyone starting their own company is to firstly, do your research. There is a huge amount of information available online that can help you avoid mistakes early on in your journey. Research your idea, learn who your competition is, test your idea on a small scale and then go from there. These are exactly the steps I took with my most recent business, EAT FIT. I have always been passionate about maintaining and achieving a healthier body and mind, and wanted to get into the healthy ready meal industry. Initially I created and posted healthy recipes on an Instagram page I created. I would share these weekly and the page started to slowly gain some traction. After doing some research into what other companies were doing and how much I could sell a dish for, I decided to create a pricelist, design a menu and start providing it as a service. As with most businesses the first week was slow, but we grew slowly and have established ourselves as one of the leading meal prep companies in Manchester.

My MBA journey so far has been eye opening and I have already met some great people from different backgrounds and industries. I hope to continue to learn from them and share my knowledge and experience along the journey. My post-MBA plans involve growing EAT FIT and establishing our name amongst the top 5 meal prep brands in the UK.

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