On Wednesday 5th October, we were thrilled to be joined by our talented alumni who were there to share their advice to a full room of Westminster students. What It Takes is an alumni event series where we welcome back past students to talk about their successes, and the first What It Takes was all about being an entrepreneur. The panel consisted of three successful entrepreneurs and members of the Westminster Alumni; Jenny Garrett, executive career coach; Peter Paduh, social entrepreneur and founder of SocialBox.Biz; and Diana Florescu, founder of Local Spoon.

(from left to right) Jenny Garrett, Peter Paduh and Diana Florescu.

Not only were we joined by a talented alumni panel, but we were also privileged to be joined by BBC’s The Apprentice and dear friend of the Westminster Business School, Margaret Mountford who chaired the panel for the evening. The discussion thrived as everyone spoke about their passions, what made them want to become their own boss and struggles they had to overcome along the way.

(from left to right) Jenny Garrett, Peter Paduh, Diana Florescu and Margaret Mountford.

Through the evening, the panel shared their words of wisdom. When asked about what it takes to set up your own company and how do you protect your business ideas Jenny Garrett said,

“Share your vision and inspire people to make it happen.”

Do not keep everything to yourself, by sharing your vision you can then build a team of people who believe in your product, thus giving you the best outcomes.

Jenny Garrett

When the panel was asked how do they deal with failure, founder of Local Spoon Diana Florescu said,

“We have to experience failure in order to succeed’.

The best way to learn is to learn from your failures, you are able to grow your understanding each time and avoid the same mistakes you made in the past.

Diana Florescu

When asked abut their reasons for why they decided to set up their own company, social entrepreneur and founder of SocialBox.Biz Peter Paduh simply stated,

“I really wanted to give back to those who have nothing”

If you’re interested in a social entrepreneurship path, then take a look at our University of Rwanda social enterprise project! 

Peter Paduh

The evening was drawn to a close by questions from students and alumni, followed by a speech from Margaret Mountford. Margaret talked about the importance of peer learning and how you should share your knowledge.

“If you do succeed in setting up a company, pass on what you’ve learnt to others”

This is exactly what #WhatItTakes is about, a successful panel of past University of Westminster students sharing what they have learnt to current students. Make sure you book for our next What It Takes with alumna and YouTuber, Lucy Earl (A.K.A English with Lucy) for What It Takes to be a YouTuber!

Many thanks to our guest speakers Diana Florescu, Peter Paduh and Jenny Garrett. Also thanks to our host for the evening Margaret Mountford and to the Westminster Alumni team for organising such a fantastic evening!

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