Originally from Bangladesh, Aftab came to the UK in 2006 and embarked on an MBA at LSC London in 2009. While he was studying at LSC, he came up with his idea to establish a food business and this is exactly what he has gone on to do after his graduation in 2010. Today, he runs his own fast food business, Wrap It Up, serving freshly made gourmet wraps inspired by food from around the world. Aftab opened his first shop just a few yards from the LSC London Bridge campus in 2011 and just this May, opened his second shop in London Victoria. Aftab took time out from his busy schedule to meet us at his London Bridge shop and we also got to try the Mexican Burrito. It was delicious!
LSC Connect: Can you tell us what you’ve been up to since leaving LSC?
Aftab: Well, I set up my first business, Wrap It Up, in London Bridge just a year after the completion of my MBA from LSC. Since then I have been involved with my business and I have just opened my second shop in Victoria in May.
LSC Connect: When and how did you get the idea for setting up your own business and why Wrap It Up?
Aftab: I got the idea to set up my own business while I was a student at LSC. When I was studying the MBA, which is about business, I used to eat in different food outlets during the lunch break and identified a market for healthy fast food. I saw an opportunity in this business and was also excited by the prospect of working with people. By the time I completed my MBA, I felt confident enough to set up my own business. Besides, I had also done the research on the food industry by this time and found the growing demand for wrap food. Wrap It Up offers fast yet healthy food from around the world under one roof. For example, we have the Portuguese Piri Piri, the Lebanese Falafel, the Turkish Shish and many others. Our most popular wrap is the Mexican Burrito, which you are trying now.
LSC Connect: And it is really tasty too – thank you for making me this burrito. But it can’t have been smooth sailing throughout. What were the challenges in setting up your own business and how did you overcome them?
Aftab: Three things: location, money and service. As you know location is very important, especially in the food business. I was keen to set up in London Bridge as I know the area best but I had to wait longer for the right premises to become available. Investing in business also needs a huge amount of money, especially in an area like London Bridge. I was really lucky that my family helped me with that. After opening the business, it was challenge to provide the best service to customers to keep them coming back. Through dedication, confidence and team work, I feel I have overcome this challenge.
LSC Connect: How far do you think LSC helped prepare you for this?
Aftab: To be honest, I wouldn’t be in this position without LSC. I came up with the idea of setting up a food business in London Bridge during my time in LSC and all my LSC friends and teachers were very positive and supportive of the idea.
My MBA also helped me develop as a person and boosted my confidence to become an entrepreneur.
LSC Connect: What did you enjoy most during your time at LSC?
Aftab: It was the best time in my life. I enjoyed all my classes and group study a lot.
LSC Connect: What advice do you have for current students looking to start a career in your sector? What could they be doing now?
Aftab: Look for every opportunity. Do the proper research as this business is very competitive.
LSC Connect: Can you also tell us a little more about Aftab the individual? What do you enjoy doing in your spare time – that’s if you have any spare time?
Aftab: You are not wrong there. What spare time? I spend my spare time on market research for my next business as I plan to open one more shop in next year. But as an individual, I strongly believe that honesty, hard work and a positive mind are the keys to success.
LSC Connect: What are your future plans for yourself and for the business?
Aftab: I hope to become a successful entrepreneur and be a positive role model for other international students. For Wrap It Up, I would like to open at least one new shop in each year and establish it as a leading wrap food in the UK market.
LSC Connect: Thank you for your time today Aftab. We will be looking out for your new Wrap It Up shops and wish you every success. For now, as they say, in your business, it’s a wrap!