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Abi Awojobi - LifeFrame

 

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lifeframe at inbox dot com



My enterprise project

My enterprise skills

LifeFrame is an online service that helps students organise, archive and preserve their university memories in the form of various printed photo products. The two flagship products are Polaroid style photos with customisable captions and a modern take on the yearbook.

I had the idea a while ago: ever since I was in sixth form I liked printing photos and taking my memories off Facebook and into real life. I also enjoyed making them as gifts for friends. When I came to university, I realised that all students had their stuff online, but not many people "bring them to life". People definitely do want some kind of long-lasting memorabilia from their time at university, but it’s expensive to get a yearbook made. That’s where the idea really came from – I found that I had the same problem as many other students and I was good at making these books.

My key enterprise skill is the ability to make things happen on minimal resources. The family and area I grew up in were not particularly wealthy; so I learned to make good things at minimum cost. I would always go shopping in clothes markets and charity shops, but style them well. Also, not having pocket money meant I developed creative ways of earning money. I remember setting up an online fashion boutique on Myspace to sell upcycled vintage clothing I would get for bargain prices in charity shops.

I always figure out how to get round problems. For example, when I was without a bank account and I couldn't create a PayPal account, I used to take payments by cash in the post! My mum opened my mail and found it hilarious that I was always receiving the £20 notes in envelopes.

All of these experiences made me enterprising, as well as someone with the real skills to follow through.

My enterprise support

My enterprise reflections & visions

I’ve created a prototype of the product and I’ve got orders I’m fulfilling. I’m working on a timeline based on the university calendar. So by October – the start of next academic year – I want to have a big launch at Warwick and at other strategic universities. By that point I need to have a fully functional website, and also some money in the bank for marketing and for fulfilling more orders. It would be really helpful to access funding, website builders and advice on how to move my enterprise further forward.

 

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When we think about entrepreneurs, we often think about Facebook and all these big companies because they are really glamourous. However, being an entrepreneur in the simplest sense is knowing how to create useful things. That’s really all it’s about and I think it’s very important to promote enterprise in this broader sense. Why? Because thinking about enterprise in this way might not only encourage more & diverse individuals to think of themselves as business owners, but also reiterate the fact that enterprise is more than just making money – it’s about making money while doing something useful.

Hand-in-hand with this is the need to highlight the benefits of entrepreneurialism for women: it gives individuals more control over their time, especially for women who might feel like there is a often a big trade-off between things like family life and career progression. Entrepreneurialism could be a really great way of balancing that in the long term. There are probably more female entrepreneurs than we think, but the spotlight isn’t shone on them enough.