Ismail Ali is a BSEEN Alumni and third year Business & Management Student at Aston University, who has always had the passion for being a successful entrepreneur.
Ismail, tell us about yourself…
“My name is Ismail Ali, 21 years old from Birmingham. I am currently a 3rd year student at Aston University undertaking a degree in Business Management and I am also a BSEEN Alumni. I aspire to leave my mark across Birmingham as a successful business tycoon. I launched my first online business in 2009, selling arts and crafts paints. This built the foundation of my career in business and has given me the knowledge and experience that I have today. This in turn has reflected on the success of my current business.”
Tell us more about your start up…
“Titan Media began as an idea to challenge the digital market to increase the level of creatives across the region. Titan Media aimed to provide equipment for videographers and photographers, focused on holding a key value proposition in price differentiation whilst maintaining the level of quality you would expect from other competitors in the market. This started out as a brand that would sell equipment but became so much more for me personally, as I have been able to see individuals use my equipment for their own creative purposes. My sole purpose after this stage was to build a culture that drives engagement and along the way I have met so many creative individuals!”
What made you jump at the chance of coming on BSEEN?
“I have worked for an employer in the past and felt restricted in doing what I wanted to do. This isn’t what I wanted to do for my placement year neither.
When I heard about the BSEEN programme, I applied as soon as the application window opened, as this was a chance for me to explore and focus on self-development. There is always room to evolve as an entrepreneur; it’s not an easy road but it is very rewarding in the long run!”
What do you think you have learned the most from your BSEEN journey?
“During my time with BSEEN, I came across so many like-minded and business focused individuals and it was really rewarding to be surrounded by such like-minded individuals who wanted to make a difference bringing unique ideas to life. I also came out with a strong network of gifted individuals in their own right who are grafting daily to bring their dream into reality. I can’t thank the BSEEN team enough for bringing this programme forward across universities and giving individuals like myself the support needed to bring our ideas to reality.”
What has been your business stand out moment since being on BSEEN?
“Some of the highlights from my time with Titan Media was being sponsored by Santander Universities, who aided my business in extending its range in products, as well as developing my website. Another highlight was selling out my first line of equipment within the first 8 months and having to re-stock because of high demand. I didn’t expect to sell out and was thrilled by my success. Another opportunity that presented itself was sponsoring a basketball team in Vietnam (SaigonGators) who currently use my equipment to record footage of players!
The programme has given me so many opportunities to grow not only in regards to my business, but also as an individual, with experiences that I will take onto business in the future!”
Any advice for entrepreneurial students or graduates thinking about starting their own business?
“You cannot expect your business to be a success if you do not put the time and effort into building a strong foundation from the start; without this any business will crumble. The foundation of a business is built on knowing your market, understanding who your competitors are, what market strategies to use to enter the market and most importantly, who you are targeting!! BSEEN does this well during its business bootcamp training!
Always dream big! People within your circle may not see your vision becoming a reality but they may not have the same skillset or mindset that you have to bring your dream into a reality. Never doubt yourself!
A final piece of advice that goes a long way, even if your business does not come out the way you wanted it to, it is never a loss. There is no losing, only learning: no failures, only opportunities and no problems, only solutions! A positive and open mindset will always take you a long way, always think positive.”
What are your next steps for your business?
“I have now sold Titan Media and it will be taken over by its new owner in the coming month. I have already started working on my next venture that I will be growing over summer and throughout my final year at Aston University. It has already been launched @colourmixbhx on Instagram.
I am always looking at emerging and trending markets and I had the chance to experiment with products during the BSEEN programme giving me an idea on future ventures. My current venture is based around making paint for cars. This is where creativity is put into practise – making custom colours for prestige vehicles across Birmingham.
New markets are always coming up, it is just a matter of getting in at the right time. I am always on the move, building and selling businesses. It is hard to say what the future will hold for me, but I am looking forward to seeing where this journey will take me!!”