Venera Aisarinova is an entrepreneur fighting fast fashion with her venture Fashioncare.ch. The digital business identifies all sustainable fashion brands for users, encouraging them to tackle fast fashion and be more environmentally aware.
She had the idea for the business during the full-time International MBA at MIP Politecnico di Milano Graduate School of Business.
The reason Venera found herself on the MIP MBA is that when she first moved to Switzerland—where her business is based— from Kazakhstan with her husband and three children, resident permit restrictions stopped her from working for a period.
Venera decided to use the time for professional development. She has 15 years of experience in tech, architecture, and project management, and so going to business school was an ideal way to consolidate everything she’d learned in the workplace.
It was also her ambition to become an entrepreneur and launch her own business—the MIP MBA seemed the perfect way to prepare her.
Building entrepreneurial skills on the MBA
There was a clear focus at MIP on doing business, Venera says. There’s also a strong entrepreneurial environment at the school. One of the pillars of the program trains MBAs to understand how companies and new ventures can plan and manage business transformation and innovation.
The Entrepreneurship, Innovation, & Startup Development specialization also immerses MBAs in entrepreneurship. Students learn to understand the challenges of digital and entrepreneurial innovation, and how to bring an entrepreneurial perspective to problem solving.
Aspiring MBA entrepreneurs can also pitch ideas they have and, if they pass the MIP feasibility check, students are granted three months—as part of their final project—of full-service business incubation in PoliHUB: the startup incubator and district of Politecnico di Milano.
The entrepreneurial environment at MIP meant Venera went from someone with little confidence to found a business to a fully-fledged entrepreneur by the end of the MBA.
“It was thanks to the International MBA that I realized I was more than capable of starting my own business,” she says. “They gave me the tools to do it. And everything’s worked out.”
MIP runs regular bootcamp-style sessions for students, designed to give them the opportunity to gain more practical experience around running a start-up, corporate sector management, digital marketing, and entrepreneurship.
Living in a new country, adapting to a different culture and native language, was challenging though. “You have to really commit to the program, which I was prepared to do,” Venera says. It was an intense year of study, she adds, but the International Student Office was there to support her every step of the way.
“I’m so grateful to my academic tutor and MBA director, professor Massimiliano Guerini, who really helped me structure my business plan for Fashioncare.ch––which actually ended up being submitted as my thesis,” she says.
From that thesis Fashioncare.ch went from a business plan to a tangible venture now fighting fast fashion.
Why Venera launched a sustainable business in the fashion industry
Venera began to put together the concept for Fashioncare.ch back in March 2020—she graduated from the MBA in September 2020. Tackling fast fashion became a passion of hers during the degree.
She then worked with the MIP faculty to adapt her business plan, directly incorporating techniques she learned on the MBA until she had a solid venture ready to launch.
“I realized one of the biggest environmentally damaging culprits is fast fashion––clothes made cheaply to meet the demands for new styles,” Venera explains.
“Further research revealed that the fast fashion demands 98 million tons of unsustainable resources every single year. That includes oil to produce synthetic fibers, fertilizers to grow cotton, and an endless list of chemicals needed to dye fabrics.”
According to Venera, as recently as 2015, only 3% of materials used globally to make clothes were recycled materials. Using her experience in tech, she wanted to find a way to point more consumers towards using more sustainable brands.