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Emmanuel Enemokwu is the founder of Jehu-cal street fashion brand. He started working on his business at secondary school and the opportunities presented to him at University meant that he was able to launch Jehu-Cal in his first year of study.
“The best thing has been putting everything that I’ve learned from Year 9 until second year of uni into real life. I’ve been able to think about what I learned in different seminars – and then implement it.”
“I have started to use 50% recycled raw materials in my tracksuit bottoms – that came from a CSR module. I considered the issues and thought ‘what could Jehu-cal do’ and decided that using the recycled raw materials was important – I’m planning to increase that amount as well.
“I have also brought production back to the UK. Everything I make is now either produced in London or the Midlands. I did that because I just didn’t know enough about the production process when it was overseas – I didn’t know if it was ethical."
In his first year at Kent he took part in the Business Start-Up Journey, an inspirational, philanthropically funded programme that brings student business start-up ideas to life. The 12-week co-curricular programme provides a step-by-step guide to starting a business, teaching the skills that are required to be a successful entrepreneur. Emmanuel reached the final, taking part in a combination of practical workshops, one-to-one advice, talks and mentoring along the way. The programme’s focus on innovation enhances each students’ employability. They learn how to assess risk, how to turn challenges into opportunity and develop leadership, communication, presentation and team-working skills.
“One of the biggest challenges is staying motivated. I had taken a break from my company, I hadn’t put out any collections and needed to get my brand back on track. When sales went down, so did my motivation. I didn’t know what to do. But doing an internship at Dune London as part of the placement was the thing that changed everything.
“I worked in all the departments from design, buying, merchandising and PR – I realised how much more planning I needed to do for my business."
“I have learned a lot about myself – my motivation and mental strengths, time management.
Throughout his studies he benefited from support through the ASPIRE (Accelerator Space for Innovation and Responsible Enterprise) and the labs provide a flexible space, to work quietly on a business case for a potential investor, rehearse that vital pitch with partners, or take advantage of the many resources available. This space was vital as Emmanuel opted to complete a self-employed placement year.
Self Employed Placements Students are supported by the ASPIRE team, particularly the entrepreneur in residence, Adam Smith, who is on hand to guide and advise throughout the 12-month placement. There is an induction which covers business essentials such as diary management, customer relationships, cash flow and the legal side of being in business.
By his final year, Jehu-cal already turned over more than £10,000 in trade. He has collaborated with Nike, featured in Vogue (Dubai) and continues to build a strong followings on Instagram. The latest significant development for the firm Jehu-Cal was invited to exhibit at London Fashion Week in Spitalfields, East London.