Founder and CEO of Leeds-based businesses Top Screen Media Ltd and White Label Loyalty Achille Traore is one of the Enterprise Ambassadors giving their time to support the students. As a long-time ambassador, Achille has mentored a range of students, including the team who went on to become founders of successful social platform LADbible.
The Centre of Enterprise and Entrepreneurial Studies (CEES) at Leeds University Business School (LUBS) Enterprise Ambassador programme provides an opportunity for students to be guided by successful local entrepreneurs and work on real-life business cases. As part of his role, Achille provides guest lectures in classes, mentors student entrepreneurs with Spark and often hosts student teams on enterprise project courses with challenges set by his business.
‘Enterprise Ambassador is a broad term’, says Achille. ‘Essentially, it’s a supporting link between the university and the commercial world. We’re there to help and support the students.
Achille was part of the Enterprise Ambassador programme from the very beginning, starting with the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programme, which was founded in Leeds and Oxford and now operates nationwide with Leeds University Business School as a key delivery partner. The Leeds Enterprise Ambassador programme builds on experiences like this for business owners by bridging between the university and enterprise businesses in the region.
‘It’s a brilliant way for business owners, like me, to give back’, says Achille. ‘It makes sure digital and technology businesses stay in touch with the new generation.’
Tackling real issues
It was the opportunity to support students to work in professional businesses that drove Achille to continue as an Enterprise Ambassador. He’s able to go into the seminar room and provide the students with live case studies to work on, with a current topic, problem or issue for the students to analyse. ‘I always present projects with issues we’re currently facing as a business’, Achille confirms. ‘It gets the students asking the right questions and expanding their thinking in new areas. It also shows them that no entrepreneur is perfect! What matters is getting up and running and coming up with new ideas.’
Not only do the live case studies provide students with new research opportunities, they help business owners, like Achille, expand into new areas. ‘The Enterprise Ambassador programme is mutually beneficial,’ says Achille. ‘It’s great for the students to work on something that’s real, not simply theoretical. Yet we’ve also used their findings within our businesses.’
‘I also attend networking events organised by the university,’ Achille adds. ‘Students meet a group of Enterprise Ambassadors, so they can begin creating links to the professional business world while studying. It’s also good to meet other Enterprise Ambassadors and build connections.’
CEES hosts ambassador events during the academic year, for students from across the university studying enterprise modules as well as Spark supported student entrepreneurs supporting by Spark. These events giving the Enterprise Ambassadors chance to interact with a range of students, meet faculty and other ambassadors. This network helps to build close partnerships with the university.
Looking into the students’ studies and matching them with the right ambassador ensures CEES run a successful Enterprise Ambassador programme that benefits both students and business owners alike. ‘Meeting and supporting ambitious students is hugely rewarding,’ says Achille. ‘I’m really proud to be part of the programme.’
To learn more about Achille and our other Enterprise Ambassadors, please see our website.