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Appin Entrepreneurship Award celebrates enterprise at ENU

Posted: 22nd June 2023

2023 winner announced

A branding consultant that helps international entrepreneurs to attract new English-speaking clients has been announced as this year’s winner of Edinburgh Napier University’s Appin Entrepreneurship Award.

Edinburgh Napier alumna Kitti Majorán, co-founder and managing director of EN-ABLE, has taken home the top prize of £2,000 at the competition which was hosted by Edinburgh Napier’s Bright Red Triangle this week.

Kitti impressed judges during the highly competitive pitching competition with her innovative approach to branding consultancy.

EN-ABLE specialises in assisting coaches, consultants and service-based entrepreneurs who speak English as a second language in attracting English-speaking clients and supports them to build their businesses internationally.

Kitti is a graduate of Edinburgh Napier’s MSc in International Marketing with Tourism and Events programme. She most recently worked within the University’s Marketing and External Relations team before going full-time with EN-ABLE.

This year’s competition was of such high quality, that a runner-up was also announced.

Matthew Akinpelu, director of ISCANET, was recognised as ‘one to watch’ by the judging panel and was presented with a cash prize of £1,000 to help support the development of his business.

ISCANET is an innovative career hub designed to empower international students in the UK by removing obstacles to equal opportunities and providing employers with the tools to access inclusive talent.

Matthew is also an Edinburgh Napier graduate, with an MA in Film, Cinema and Video Studies as well as an MBA in Organisational Leadership.

Alongside the prize money, both Kitti and Matthew will continue to receive 1:1 business advice and support from Bright Red Triangle – a free resource for Edinburgh Napier students, staff and alumni to develop enterprise skills and entrepreneurship opportunities.

Prize-winner Kitti Majorán said: “It was such an honour to present my business to peers and be met with recognition and excitement. I’m immensely grateful to Appin Sports for this investment – it’s going to propel my business forward in many unimaginable ways.

“Building a business is a very unusual journey and I’m so fortunate and grateful to have had Edinburgh Napier University support me every step of the way.

“I was originally inspired to start this business while studying international marketing at postgraduate level, where I also learnt about the strategies that turn ideas into reality. After graduating, I was lucky enough to get a job with the multi-award-winning Edinburgh Napier marketing team, where I learnt all the technical skills that went into building my online presence. And the BRT team have also been such an incredible support – always giving me advice and helping me on this journey in any way they can. So, I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone involved, I most definitely couldn’t have done it without you!”

Matthew Akinpelu said: “Winning £1000 in the pitch for ISCANET, along with the support from Bright Red Triangle, not only provides crucial resources for our ambitious growth plans but also opens doors to a network of exceptional entrepreneurs in the room who share our vision for empowering international students and businesses. It was a great opportunity to connect, collaborate, and build valuable relationships with like-minded individuals passionate about the future of ISCANET.”

Supported by visionary entrepreneurs Damien O’Looney and Bing Li, the Appin Entrepreneurship Award aims to empower and recognise Edinburgh Napier innovators. This prestigious accolade not only celebrates entrepreneurial excellence but also provides winners with a cash prize and personalised business advice from Bright Red Triangle (BRT), further bolstering their entrepreneurial endeavours.

Damien and Bing met while studying Entrepreneurship and Marketing at Edinburgh Napier University. The award embodies their desire to give back and support fledgling businesses by providing them with the necessary resources to kickstart their ventures.

The pair’s entrepreneurial journey has been marked by numerous successful enterprises, including UK-China Trading Ltd (UKCT), an English school in China, a property letting agency, a holiday letting agency, a sportswear supplier called Appin Sports, and a business sourcing and supplying PPE to the NHS and global outlets in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nick Fannin, Head of Enterprise and Head of Bright Red Triangle at Edinburgh Napier, said: “Edinburgh Napier University has a great track record of fostering student and graduate entrepreneurship, resulting in a vibrant community of engaged entrepreneurs who offer invaluable advice, coaching, and encouragement to one another. The Appin Entrepreneurship Award serves as a shining example of how our esteemed alumni are giving back to this community, empowering our students to build sustainable businesses. We are extremely grateful to Damien and Bing for their generous support through the Appin Award. We remain dedicated to collaborating with Appin Sports, and our partners across the entrepreneurial ecosystem, as we nurture and develop the next generation of entrepreneurial talent.”

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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