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University of Bradford student wins Entrepreneur Award

Published: Thu 26 Mar 2015

A third year Optometry student at the University of Bradford has won the Duke of York young entrepreneur award.

Rabia Qureshi received her award from the Duke after launching a successful business ‘Sewing Bradford Ltd’ in November 2012.

Sewing Bradford is a specialist sewing school based in the heart of Bradford that aspires to become the No.1 Accredited Sewing School in the UK. They offer pattern making and sewing classes aimed at anyone with a love for making their own garments or furnishings. All their classes are taught by a well-experienced tutor who has been teaching dress making for over 10 years.

Rabia said: “The classes have empowered many students and have had a significant social impact. Attending classes has helped women overcome isolation and seclusion, increased self-esteem, improved mental well-being and promoted community education. These students are now able to stitch for themselves, their family and many have set up their own businesses since. We have had students come to learn from different parts of England, and interest has been shown worldwide.”

To date, the company has provided sewing classes to hundreds in basic and advanced techniques and this number is increasing month on month. The business has already created a number of jobs, employing teachers and providing apprenticeship opportunities. The course gained accreditation in 2013 which means students can gain a qualification in ‘Fashion Tailoring and Pattern Making’ on completion of the course.

Rabia and her team have also bid for and secured successful contracts with a local organisation that is aimed at helping NEET students, and they are currently planning a large tailoring hub, which would create more jobs for students and fill a large gap in the market.

Rabia, said: “As a student, managing a full time Optometry degree and a business has been an adventure, with me gaining priceless experiences. I was recently asked to judge a dragons den competition run by the Bradford council and have featured in the ‘Bradford born, bred and in business’ documentary, as well as being interviewed by the BBC news and various radio channels.

“Business has taught me how to work ethically, it has prepared me for my life as a business women and a health care professional.”

Rabia was presented with her award by the Duke at Huddersfield University on 25 March.

On winning the award, Rabia said: “Winning this award is a very special honour, I was not expecting it and I am truly gratified. The reason behind working so hard whilst studying is very dear to me and has driven me into the third year of business and now the respect of this prestigious award. Thank you for presenting me with such an honour.” 

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