d’brew makes its debut

Darshi Withanage

Faculty: Business and Law
School: School of Economics, Finance and Law
Course: BSc (Hons) Business Economics
Category: Business

9 June 2015

Hello everyone. Hope everyone is ready for the summer.

So let me tell you the next part of my journey. I have to admit I was bit lazy over the last couple of weeks about writing anything, because every day I came home late and was tired by the time I get home. So apologies for that.

To begin with I would like to share with all of you that I have won The Big Pitch second prize (£5,000). Here’s the picture of my awesome tea and tea box. I look forward to launching my business with support from ARU’s Business School and the Startup Lab by August 2015.

I feel really proud of myself and I still cannot explain how I feel. To begin with I especially need to thank the Business School for giving me the foundation to be who I am today. And I cannot give enough thanks to the Business School Internship programme which actually gave us the training and experience we needed to face the real world. To those who are studying in the Business School: I highly recommend you join the programme next year. We were the very first group of interns (2014) and since we finished our training, this year some of us actually became the senior interns. This is a really cool term and we get to see behind the scenes now. This is really good learning experience for me. I still work as a senior intern. These days I am doing some training with Nicola Falkner (Student Experience Coordinator). So I’m actually learning how the Business School do the activities they do and I get to see the things from the staff point of view. I must admit that the staff in the third floor of Business School work really hard to make sure our student life is a great experience. They are more than happy to talk to you regarding your experience, the problems you have related to your studies etc. And they will try to find a way to help you.

So, getting back to The Big Pitch – it was such an amazing evening. I was bit anxious about presenting in front of a crowd. Even though we have always done presentations in classes, this experience is completely different and new. The support we got from CEDAR throughout The Big Pitch process was amazing. Plus, since I do not have my family here in the UK, I felt that I definitely needed to have someone in the audience when I was presenting, so I invited Nicola Faulkner from the Business School, one of my lecturers Nick Drydakis, my very own designer Nuwan and one of my very close friends Sabrina and to come and join me.

After a long wait it was the final presentation day. This was the most important event, and the moment that I have been waiting for since the beginning of February. In the evening CEDAR officially commenced the event. To be really honest with all of you, I was not 100% listening to others’ stories. I was sort of in my own world practising my speech. I was the third person to present my business idea and I was sort of nervous when the second finalist finished their presentation. Before I forget, we were in LAB 026, so hopefully everyone can get a feeling of presenting in front of curious eyes of strangers in that big room. I felt a shiver in the first couple of seconds and then managed to land a proper presentation. I still get good feedback from people who been there on that day.

One by one everyone finished their presentation and it was the time to announce the winners. I must admit my heart raced and I was pretty nervous again. So when they announced the third place, some part of me tells me that it is good that it went to someone else – I know I will get either second or first place. But another part of me clearly said, ‘What if you would not win anything?’ And it was time to announce the runner-up (second place). One of the judges came to announce and he did a brief introduction of that person and only thing I heard was something related to passion and later I heard the name d’brew. (By the way, the name of soon-to-be my business is d’brew.)

So I hurried to the middle of the room and claimed my prize money. And even today if someone asked me ‘How did you feel?’, I do not think I can explain how I felt at that very moment. Since I’m human with many desires I was bit upset for not getting the first place. But I understand that it is participation that matters and the connections you find through these events. I can safely say that I have managed to secure some good connections that will help me to develop my business idea in the future.

SUCCESS IS NO ACCIDENT. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love what you are doing. Pele


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