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Graduate inspires at Alumni Business Network

Posted on 13 March 2017

news, blogs:Alumni

Leeds Trinity Business graduate, Gareth Craven, shared his inspirational journey from student to business owner at the second Trinity Alumni Business Network.

Alumni joined current staff and students on 23 February for an evening of networking and presentations from 2016 graduate Gareth, and Business lecturer Andy Gilliland, who also hosted the evening with the Alumni team.

Gareth, who spoke about his online art commissioning business, Hire an Artist, said:

"It felt inspiring to be giving a talk at the event, especially after being an attendee last year and listening to how fellow alumnus and Business student Ben Lawton got started with his own company. It's that sense of progress and achievement that just makes for an incredible feeling, and then to be so welcomed by everybody; friends, my old lecturers, mentors and so on. It made for an event I'll never forget."

Gareth was joined on the evening by Raj Dhonota, a business start-up investor who appeared on the first series of BBC1's The Apprentice with Lord Alan Sugar. Raj has recently invested £50,000 in Gareth and his business; enabling him to develop a new website and re-launch his business. He took part in a question and answer session with Gareth, and delivered a business masterclass to students earlier in the day.

In the last year, Gareth has had a ten-page chapter published in The Amazing Book of People, he was accepted onto the world's largest free business accelerator, and he made it into the top 100 of Britain's biggest small business competition.

Conal Siddall, Alumni Relations Project Assistant at Leeds Trinity University, said: "Gareth's talk was truly inspirational! As a recent graduate myself it's really nice to hear stories from people who have been in the same boat as me. I was amazed at how much Gareth had persevered through adversity to get Hire an Artist off the ground. It was also really nice to see how Gareth has utilised the support tools around him as a springboard for his success. I want to wish Gareth the best of luck and I look forward to seeing the networking group grow after this."

Business lecturer Andy Gilliland also spoke on the evening about upcoming training opportunities available for businesses, for free, through the European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF).​

The next Trinity Alumni Business Network will take place in the summer. Contact the Alumni office on to register your interest for this event. View photographs from the event on the Leeds Trinity Alumni Facebook page.


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