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Meet social entrepreneur Uyiosa Osawe: Game Changer

Uyiosa joined the Evolve Social course with CU Social Enterprise in November 2018, and has now been awarded €5000 from MiFriendly Cities to get his business idea off the ground. Here, we find out more about his journey to start a clothing brand with a social mission, and his hopes for the future of his new business: Game Changer.

My name is Uyiosa Osawe, I am 21 years old and I am an entrepreneur. I am currently in my final year at Coventry University studying Sports Therapy. I was born in Nigeria and moved over to the UK (Manchester) when I was 5 years old in 2002.

On my days off from university I work part-time for Coventry Refugee & Migrant Centre. I am Business Coordinator for a startup social enterprise Spring Action Cleaning, which was also funded by Coventry University Enterprise Hub in 2017.

I am highly competitive. I run for Coventry Godiva Harriers in the 100/200m sprint events. My other interests include attending training courses related to growing your business, reading personal development books, travelling and adventure.

I have been awarded €5,000 from MiFriendly Cities which will go towards the business and mentoring. Continued support from CU Social Enterprise will enable me to create products that will impact people not only today but 10-20 years from now.

The name of my brand is Game Changer. My business idea consists of providing customers aged 16-30 with a range of male and female clothing products, from casualwear to smart wear. The brand represents hope, confidence and power to make a positive impact in society.

10% of each item sold will go to the charity Samaritan’s Purse. They are an organisation that provides aid to people in physical need as a key part of Christian missionary work. They work through local churches to proclaim and demonstrate the love of God amongst communities in Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Their vision for the future is also similar to what I want my business ideas to achieve: ‘’to see transformation – of both individual lives and whole communities. We long to see people restored in their relationship with God and with each other and for their circumstances to be turned around.’’

At the start I was hesitant to put my business idea forward. I believed it had to have social value and wasn’t a non-profit business. However, the course reassured me that I can still make an impact through selling clothes, and showed me real life examples of this during the course.

The experience of pitching for funding brought me out of my comfort zone and I felt more comfortable the more I did it. It was very helpful that we did a practice pitch as a group before the final pitch. It gave us time to give each other constructive feedback and refine our pitch. I absolutely loved it.

This is my first time setting up a business, so I am excited of what is to come and ready to overcome any obstacles. This opportunity with MiFriendly Cities has helped me understand the importance of the ‘why’ in starting a business and having a compelling message that speaks to the customers. They have also helped me articulate a sales forecast for my business idea.

I believe that when you believe in something, it has so much power to enable you to achieve your dreams. However, when another person believes in what you believe then it makes it 10x more powerful. The course has therefore given me that positive reinforcement to enable me to see this business idea through to success.

Be bold, courageous and persistent, and remember that a dream without goals and a plan is just a dream. The process of setting up a business will give you the skills and character you can use in other walks of life. It not what you achieve by setting up a business but it who you become as a person while doing it. Your business idea could be the next big thing that impacts generations to come so don’t hold back. Take the risk or loose the chance.

My plan for the future is to release a business wear collection for men and women, including kids a baby collection. To employ a team of people who share the same belief we share a company and for us to reach out to a bigger audience. To make Game Changer clothing be the go-to brand when anyone thinks of clothing. To continue to give back to society and world by doing what we can to make a positive impact, the plan is to achieve this is the next 15-30 years.

The MiFriendly Cities social enterprise initiative supports refugee and migrant entrepreneurs to develop innovative business ideas, funding up to 16 new businesses across Coventry, Birmingham and Wolverhampton. 

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European Union & Urban Innovative Actions

This project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Urban Innovative Actions Initiative.