Student Stories: Janja Popovic & AySwap

Our Janja Popovic  (MACE 2016-17) has been chosen as one of 10 female entrepreneurs for 2018 Mayor’s Entrepreneur Mentoring supported by Mayor of London as part of Mayor’s Entrepreneur Award 2018 competition and the Mayor’s gender equality campaign #BehindEveryGreatCity marking the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.

Mayor Of London Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 (Photographer Ben Broomfield)

Janja was also chosen to represent Kingston University at the University Alliance Enterprise Stars with her start-up Ayswap – the world’s first subscription coffee reusable cup packaging ecosystem offering the potential to cut waste by more than 300 million of coffee cups a year and help London eliminate plastic waste. University AllianceEnterprise Stars is celebrating the emerging business talent among students and is searching for the ‘enterprise stars of tomorrow’. Enterprise Stars will culminate in the opportunity to win investment from a panel of investors.

AySwap (Photo courtesy of Janja Popovic)

Ayswap was in March also shortlisted as one of top 10 Student Start-up of the Year 2018  among students and recent graduates from 200 colleges and universities across Britain. After pitching to a panel of expert judges in London, Janja was offered a year-long mentorship from Enterprise Nation in partnership with Enterprise Trust.

Finally, Launch 22 selected Ayswap as one of 8 start-ups for their 3-month London Incubator programme including co-working space and an opportunity to pitch to investors.

A couple of weeks into the incubator programme, I asked Janja to tell me about her experience at Launch 22:

“We are now two weeks into the Launch 22 incubator programme. The start of the programme took our businesses back to the early stages to help us then take our ideas to the next stage. It has helped me see new solutions and how to execute my ideas from a different angle.

I am very happy I applied and I am grateful that I was chosen as one among 8 as it is a great place to meet other entrepreneurs and see how they are coping with the same struggles as I have at such an early stage of the business journey.”

To be honest, I had mixed feeling about incubators as I did not have a clear idea of how things work but I now realise the process is very similar to the process we go through on our MACE course which pushes us into the mindset of un-learning to learn new things and to see our ideas from a different perspective instead of reverting to our routine thinking and problem-solving.”

We are very proud of Janja – she is a very driven young woman with an incredibly positive entrepreneurial spirit and we wish her all the best on her journey.

Find & follow Janja and her start-up on Twitter