Entrepreneurship Award 2023

Awarded for demonstrating outstanding enterprise and/or entrepreneurial activity.

College of Business, Technology and Engineering

Ariana Croke
Lanval O’Garro


Ariana Croke– MSc International Business and Marketing

What they did

“During the beginning of the Covid-19 Pandemic which was my first year studying at Sheffield Hallam University completing my Business and Enterprise Management Degree I decided to create a development plan for my own business idea offering bespoke managed office space within the midlands region that focused on independent working and safe clear spaces, whilst having the ability to collaborate and separate work and home life. Offiss Ltd was born, I became the founding director of Offiss Ltd which is a bespoke managed office space which opened its doors in 2021. I have one site currently based in Cannock offering a range of spaces such as; private offices, reserved and flexible co-working, lounge access, booth seating, meeting room, podcast room and kitchen facilities. However, I am just finalising the procurement of another site in Lichfield. Offiss has a website https://www.offiss.co.uk/, social media, and we have just commenced with blogs accessible via the website.  I am currently underway with the installation of a Podcast and Recording Studio, and myself and another Student moving into creating our own business podcasts to discuss everything that is not seen externally when setting up and running a business and finally preparing to launch our very own networking group but with a twist called Offiss Astor.  The networking is to be based on the Mastermind format. I am now 18 months in with a steady flow of enquiries and a full office; we now operate a waiting list for our space. I have had businesses from a range of industries including; Contact Coffee Co Ltd (coffee company), Design by Penrose (brand management), Arco Building Services (electrical and mechanical), Square Circles (Design and Fitout), Search Recruitment (a nationwide recruitment agency) and more. I have had a growing income now for over 12 months which has given us the ability to now expand our brand further.”

What was the Impact?

“The vision I had was to focus on bringing the city workspace to smaller market towns, why did the larger cities get all the inspirational space?  I wanted to bring the small towns something new and exciting.  My focus and drive for the business was to offer boutique space to smaller businesses, one person to 12 person businesses that needed support, the ability to brainstorm and collaborate with others, with the space I provide; a large communal space so it allows for the ability to network and hold networking events in turn most of all the ability to help them grow. Our research into lighting and colours has allowed us to divide open spaces using these medias to benefit the individuals who work within them.”

How it inspired others

“When planning Offiss things that accelerate innovation was taken into consideration such as; the layout, the colours and the USP to create actants. I wanted to have open plan space but with defined areas, working areas, relaxation areas, health and well-being areas.  So we have soft seating, high level working tables, collaboration work tables, acoustic lone working pods, and laptop tables.  I did not stop there, I added a games machine and a Peloton exercise bike with yoga mat space.

The space became friendly, welcoming and most of all flexible for all working types. It allows everyone the opportunity to have the space away from home to grow. We had a tenant who came to us to enable suppliers to visit and have an interesting inspiring space to meet them; he felt the space gave him and his team motivation and the ability to grow.  We helped them on their journey to find their own office and expand themselves.  They now look after all our insurance needs as they have expanded the markets they offer.

Our friendly family atmosphere has welcomed those with mental health issues and people who do not confine themselves to a gender without the fear of being judged. We also support ex serving and serving military personnel and their families with availability of space and discounts.  I are currently applying for our Armed Services Covenant where we hope to achieve Silver status.”

College of Social Sciences and Arts

Reece Kelly
Olivia Tate
Molly East


Olivia Tate – BA (Hons) Illustration

What they did:

“Supporting others through self-empowerment is at the heart of this student’s business strategy, using illustration as a catalyst and social media as a platform to give a voice to their cause by opening up conversations and spreading awareness of topics such as mental health, sexual harassment and body positivity.

Their meticulous attention to their personal branding strategy effectively reflects their artistic style and the causes they support. The student has shown consistent dedication, enthusiasm and focus on their work, as evidenced by a steady increase in paid commissions and recognition from their peers as somebody who is working at a professional level. A fractured ankle at the beginning of the placement did not slow them down!

Their work ethic is exemplary, with new ideas swiftly and successfully executed, such as planning a retail event for International Women’s Day, with over 40 applications within one week.

The student has pushed to learn new skills in areas such as website design, marketing, and sales.  This quality of work produced is impressive – a testament to the hard work that has been put in. This level of entrepreneurial achievement is not often seen among freelancers so early in their career.”

What was the impact:

“Confidently and openly speaking out about social topics they are passionate about, the student attempts to break stigmas and make a positive difference to others. Through their artwork and self-expression on social media, at events and amongst their peers, the student encourages and facilitates meaningful discussions around topics that young people are greatly affected by, such as mental health.

I have seen first-hand how this discussion has made a significant difference by empowering others to share their feelings, stories and ideas. By regularly showing up and doing the work, the student is a visible example to their peers of how hard work gets results. I have seen how others have been inspired by their determination and enthusiasm.”

How it inspired others:

“Few students are as visible in being ambassadors for topics that significantly affect mental health and are so clearly and effectively directed at a young audience.

A combination of talented illustration, courage and articulate messaging is igniting new conversations on topics that young people care about. The effectiveness of this can be seen on their social media channels and in their sales; people are paying attention and paying money because they not only relate but also feel empowered.”

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