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Kim Urbauer and Yashar Behroozi - Starting a business, SPARK


Kim and Yashar run an international mineral and petrochemical procurement and supply chain consulting company: Kimberly Procurement and Consulting Ltd, strategically sourcing the right products at the best value for its clients.

After they graduated from the MBA course at Leeds they submitted a business plan to Spark who agreed to sponsor their place in the InTechnology Incubator, which gives practical support and financial assistance ro new graduates looking to set up in business.

Yashar said: ”We realised there was a lot of area for improvement in how businesses source the right products from a global market. We wanted to help companies make changes to their procurement function, which is often a process that is overlooked.

"Right from the start Spark were there to give advice and guidance, and show us the next steps."

Kim said: "Sometimes when you are starting out, it’s nice to have someone who is saying you are on the right path, and actually the support is ongoing.

"Spark is always available and often look at things from a different angle, offering suggestions without interfering with the business. And it’s great to have someone there to offer reassurance."

Through Spark, Kim and Yashar found out about the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa which allows international graduates from the University of Leeds to develop a business in the UK.

Yashar’s successful visa application meant the pair could start Kimberly Procurement and Consulting in the UK.

He said: "We started out in different countries and it was really difficult – the three hour time difference was meaning Kim was getting up at 5am to call me.” Said Yashar. “And, as an international student, through Spark there was also really easy access to financial and legal support, for example to help me get bank accounts – things that, as a foreigner, take a lot of time even just finding the right people to help in the first instance. Access to solicitors, accountants, lawyers etc, who were used to dealing with start-ups, were all easily available to us."

Kim said: "The visa has given us an authority as a start-up we’ve been endorsed by the University, which has one of the leading business schools in the country. This gives us gravitas when we talk to businesses."