Munachiso Ogu-Jude (pictured) is no stranger to Birmingham City University (BCU) support.
‘Jude’ started his BCU journey in 2012, embarking upon a Bachelor of Laws degree that saw him graduate with First Class Honours. He then strengthened his skills further with a Diploma in Legal Practice, graduating with a Distinction in 2016.
“Prior to joining BCU, I had never travelled outside of my native Nigeria,” he explains.
“I was told that BCU had an outstanding law course. They were right. It gave me the perfect student experience, with a good mix of academics, career development and social life.
“I gained work experience and support for entrepreneurs, had an amazing social life and I got a real appreciation of international diversity.”
While studying his law diploma, Jude began to formulate the idea of his company, Mojitax.
“I enjoyed UK taxation and explained the concept to most students,” he explains. “I tried to develop simplified ways of explaining, which became the model for Mojitax.”
Free and effective business startup help
The entrepreneur first sought business startup help from the University by signing up to the Birmingham Skills for Enterprise and Employability Network (BSEEN) programme, which offers students and graduates the chance to turn their business idea into a reality.
“I had just returned to the UK and was in need of a supportive environment to launch my business,” Jude explains.
“BSEEN provided training and support for entrepreneurs, exactly what I needed.
“Thanks to BSEEN, I secured some startup funds to support my first days in the business world. This helped me pay for training, administrative documents and business registration. I’d highly recommend it.”
Business incubation at its best
As Jude looked to progress Mojitax, he sought the support of BCU’s business incubation service, STEAMhouse Incubator.
“The Incubator helped me in a number of ways,” he says. “It gave me a professional business address for my startup and the chance to utilise the conference room for online sessions and webinars.”
Another client to praise the Incubator space is Simon Caulton (pictured).
Simon is an entrepreneur who recently launched his own brand of sustainable footwear, Ones Trainers, that donates a chunk of its proceeds to charity.
“The facilities that the Incubator provide would be financially out of reach anywhere else,” Simon enthuses. “When I used the office, it gave me a sense of professionalism and a home for my business.”
Alongside this, BCU’s business incubation service has provided priceless business startup help when it comes to information and advice.
“It has been an amazing source,” Simon smiles. “They’ve provided links to various loan and investment opportunities, have set up meetings with great business advisors and helped me develop my brand’s vision.”
Jude, meanwhile, is quick to praise the personal support the Incubator team have provided.
“The support startups receive is priceless,” he says. “They’ve seen me through challenges and moments of doubt. They show genuine concerns about my business and wellbeing.”
Award-worthy support for entrepreneurs
The support and guidance of STEAMhouse Incubator has seen both Jude and Simon named as finalists at this year’s National Startup Awards.
Jude and Mojitax are finalists in the Professional Services Startup category, while Simon and Ones are up for the Rising Star award.
The awards ceremony will take place on Thursday 16 June at The Crane in Birmingham. Tickets are available now.
It’s the second time this year that Simon has found himself nominated for an award, having previously been nominated for Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2022 Signature Awards.
“I am overwhelmed to be a finalist at a nationally recognised awards, especially when you consider Mojitax is barely seven months old,” says Jude.
“The entrepreneurship journey has a lot of challenges, so to be recognised in such a way offers huge encouragement.”
Looking to make your business award-worthy? Find out more about our business incubation service.