Omran Al Habbal


Co-Founder & COO of Birmingham Enterprise Community 
Studied MSc Strategic Marketing Management (2018)

'From a start-up perspective, I feel that my chances to grow big are much higher in Birmingham than in London.'


omran Al Habbal image 1

Omran is a Syrian refugee who came to Birmingham three years ago since when he has founded online business platform Gladington, become a director of creative agency Bloomup and been involved in extensive volunteer work.

In 2019, Omran has been selected as a finalist in BirminghamLive's 30 Under 30 campaign which showcases some of the most inspiring under 30s living, working and making a difference in the city. The readers were asked to nominate others or themselves and the final 30 were chosen by a panel of judges including representatives from The Prince's Trust and Citizens UK.

He studied strategic marketing management at Aston Business School after which he became involved with entrepreneur initiatives including one which helps students start their enterprises and gives them the skills and knowledge they need to make their businesses grow.

He also founded Gladington, a platform aimed at helping students get in touch with entrepreneurs and businesses to collaborate and inspire more entrepreneurial activities.

His work with Birmingham Enterprise Community (BEC) sees him support emerging startups and entrepreneurs to take their businesses to the next level. BEC also works to connect and support student and graduate entrepreneurs from every university in the city.

Among his volunteer work is supporting Dubarah, a Canadian NGO that supports Syrian refugees in 15 countries.

Read the full 30 under 30 article

'It was great having real and fresh business examples when studying the modules.'

Why did you choose Aston University?

After finishing my BSc in Marketing I wanted to develop my knowledge and experience further, so I was in a search for the best schools in my field of study and Aston Business School was among the best schools that teaches marketing and ranks as one of the highest in marketing professional development.

What did you enjoy about your course?

Integrating the recent trends and up-to-date business news with the course materials. It was great having real and fresh business examples when studying the modules.

What else did you get involved in while you were here?

I joined the Student Union Marketing Committee and helped in understanding how best can students’ life experience can be improved and be an enjoyable journey.

What did you like about living in Birmingham?

If you have the right mind-set, Birmingham is the best place to do your study and build your professional career. There is a lot of available support and resources for entrepreneurs like myself that enable you to start your professional journey with confidence.

What did you do immediately after you graduated?

After graduation, I enrolled with BSEEN which is an incubation programme for students and graduate entrepreneurs supported by Aston and other leading universities in the region. Shortly before enrolling in the programme I have started my first business Gladington which is a platform that facilitates the connectivity between students and start-ups. That was my first step into the entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

What is your current job (position and organisation)?

I am involved with many entrepreneurial initiatives that focus on helping entrepreneurs start their enterprises and give them the skills and knowledge they need to make their businesses grow. Beside Gladington and Bloomup, my main focus now is the Birmingham Enterprise Community (BEC), and as the COO I oversee day-to-day operations making sure procedures operate properly and policies are implemented effectively to achieve BEC goals and vision. 

What do you enjoy about it?

I am passionate about what I do and nothing more enjoyable than helping others create their own entrepreneurial journey and help them develop the right mind-set to flourish. That's at the heart of the BEC. 

What are your career ambitions for the future?

To grow my businesses into a hub that provides the needed support to entrepreneurs and start-ups in all their business aspects. Starting from Birmingham, to be across the UK and ultimately worldwide. 

What is special about Aston University?

The diversity of its students and how much we learned from each other’s cultures, backgrounds and experience. It is an eye-opening experience that helps in shaping a professional attitude for collaborative work and future development.

What advice would you give to current Aston students?

Reach out and make the best of the available resources and support. If you have an idea for business go for it and take actions to develop it into a real business. There is a lot of amazing start-ups initiated by our students and you are not an exception, they did it and you can too.

What do you miss the most about studying at Aston?

I am still actively involved with ongoing entrepreneurial activities at Aston. Recently, I have joined Aston team to deliver enterprise education to Aston MSc students. However, I miss the student life experience at Aston, I enjoyed every bit of it.

How would you sum up your time at Aston in one word (both in English and your home language!)

Enriching Experience - تجربة مثرية

'It is an eye-opening experience that helps in shaping a professional attitude for collaborative work and future development.'

 

                                    omran al habbal alumn