New role for Entrepreneur in Residence: Interview with Saleem Arif

Posted by pm357 at Feb 09, 2018 12:40 PM |
We would like to congratulate Saleem Arif on his recent appointment to the Small Business Charter Management Board. Chief Executive and Founder of Reviewsolicitor and Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Leicester, Saleem joins Dr Matthew Higgins, Associate Dean of Enterprise and External Relations in the School of Business, on the SBC board.

The SBC award celebrates business schools that play an effective role in supporting small businesses, local economies and student entrepreneurship. In order to achieve the Small Business Charter award, business schools undergo a rigorous assessment to determine the effectiveness of their business support, entrepreneurship education and engagement with their local economy. 35 business schools across the UK now hold the Small Business Charter and have directly supported more than 18,750 small businesses.

Rachel Wrigglesworth, who manages the day-to-day running of the Entrepreneur in Residence scheme in the School of Business, sat down with Saleem to chat through his new role and what he hopes to achieve.

How did you get the role?

"The SBC was looking for an entrepreneur to join the Board and Matthew Higgins recommended I apply. I know Matthew through my involvement in setting up the Entrepreneur in Residence scheme at the University of Leicester in spring 2017. I submitted my CV and cover letter, then met with the SBC board in London last week to discuss my background and how I could contribute."

What will you be doing on the SBC Management Board?

"I am not 100% sure yet but I will be championing entrepreneurship through supporting Business schools to work more closely with their local business community. I will be sharing ideas of what I would have found helpful as a young entrepreneur, and how universities can make the most of their expertise to support new start-ups. I expect to be taking part in visiting and reviewing Business schools across the country in connection with their SBC award application or re-accreditation. I will also participate in quarterly board meetings where I will bring an entrepreneur’s perspective to discussions and decisions."

What does it mean to you to be appointed to the board?

"I’m really passionate about assisting start-ups and entrepreneurship, so am pleased that I can do this more formally and on a national scale through this new role. I’m also looking forward to enhancing my network through this position and sharing my ideas with key influencers at universities."

How will your experience as Chief Executive and Founder of Reviewsolicitors and other previous roles help with the new position?

"I’ve been an entrepreneur four times over so bring with me a real understanding of the various challenges that entrepreneurs experience! My first venture was whilst as an undergraduate student at Cambridge University – I launched a magazine publishing company. Starting with a £20 initial investment, the business snowballed to become one of the largest recruitment magazines in the UK. I really want to use this role to encourage young people to realise, like I did, the assets they have, that others don’t, and to make the most of them."

How does this link in to your work as an Entrepreneur in Residence at our School of Business?

"I anticipate the new positon will raise my awareness of the various support and funding opportunities on offer to start-ups and new entrepreneurs, which I will be able to promote to those I meet with through the Entrepreneur in Residence scheme."

Will this have benefits for the University of Leicester?

"I expect to be visiting many business schools and seeing how they support and encourage entrepreneurship. I will be able to share best practice and ideas for new initiatives with the business school at Leicester. I’ll also be able to feed back on the SBC’s priorities which could influence the School’s re-accreditation in the coming years."

What do you hope to achieve in the role?

"I want to inspire more people to become entrepreneurs. Especially in the context of Brexit, I feel strongly that universities across the country need to work more closely with their local business community to support growth and promote entrepreneurship. I hope that through my role on the SBC management Board I will be able to advocate this way of working."

To find out more about our Entrepreneur in Residence scheme click here or contact Rachel Wrigglesworth.