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Netherlands Entrepreneur Uses Aston MBA To Expand Start-Up Empire

Student seeks funding for next entrepreneurial venture

Sun Jan 31 2016

With the start-up revolution in full swing, MBA students are keen for an entrepreneurial fix, or so the maxim goes. Wais Pirzad bears that out.

The Aston Business School-er launched, ran and sold a raft of tech businesses in the Netherlands before his MBA, which he says supports entrepreneurs with funding, mentoring and workshops.  

These include Gorilla Guard, which provided touchscreen protectors, cases and software for mobile phones and tablets, and Mobile Plus, an online shop for mobiles and other digital devices. His most successful, Enda Solutions, had a turnover of around €1 million.

You’ve set up a number of businesses. Which are you most proud of and why?

My most successful business was my telecoms consulting start-up called Enda Solutions, which I was most proud of, because I was able to help my clients effectively with the development of their businesses, which was very satisfactory, and the fact that I reached a turnover of about €1 million within a few years, which was like a dream come true for me.

What made you want to do an MBA in the UK?

One of the reasons I sold my businesses was the fact that I wasn’t able to surpass my competition, despite having a strong position within my niche.

Initially I intended to study in the Netherlands, but after getting married, I and my wife decided to move to the UK. Fortunately, I am getting a UK degree from a very international business school, which is highly accredited.

What’s the hardest thing about being an entrepreneur?

Confucius [an influential Chinese philosopher] once said: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

That is exactly how I experienced entrepreneurship. I worked on average 70 hours a week, without getting tired. The hardest thing was finding the balance between my professional and personal life. On the one hand I didn’t want to stop working and on the other hand I wanted to spend time with my family and friends.

Fortunately, after selling my businesses, I learned that part of running a successful business is having healthy relationships not only within my professional environment, but also within my personal environment.

What support does Aston Business School offer entrepreneurs?

There are several start-up organizations within Aston that support students with funding, mentoring and workshops. Besides, MBA students have personal entrepreneurial support from our career development advisor Paul Schoonenberg. For example, he is currently searching for external funding for my new start-up.

Furthermore, Aston arranges network meetings for business students with professionals from different industries, which is very valuable for entrepreneurs.

Overall, Aston Business School has a great environment for entrepreneurial students, which I am currently making use of.

How do you rate The Netherlands as a start-up destination?

I wouldn’t be able to rate the start-up environment in the Netherlands. During the development of my company I wasn’t actually aware of a start-up community which potentially could have supported me. The only help I had was the mentoring of my father and support of my family, which was enough for me to succeed.