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Dragons' Den winners Mo Bros join DMU campaign to offer everyone the Freedom to Achieve

They were one of the big success stories on TV show Dragons’ Den and now the brothers behind beard and moustache grooming company Mo Bro's have been meeting and inspiring students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

MO BROS - interview

Kunal and Savan take questions from the audience with host Prof Mark Prescod

Two of the three brothers, who witnessed a rare bidding war between the Dragons on the BBC2 programme broadcast just after Christmas, are on campus this week sharing their views on how to achieve your dreams, no matter what your background is.

Kunal and youngest brother Savan, referred to in Mo Bro's marketing campaigns as Itchy and Patchy due to the beard issues their products have helped overcome, were in the Campus Centre atrium on Monday night to support the DMU event Freedom to Achieve.

If you want to support the DMU Freedom to Achieve event, it is being repeated, with the Mo Bros, in the Campus Centre on Thursday 1 February between noon and 2pm.

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The talk and workshops are just two of many events which will be designed to help narrow the attainment gap at DMU, which shows that fewer black and minority ethnic (BAME) students achieve a First or 2:1 degree compared with their fellow white students. The problem is a national one, but DMU recognises the efforts it must make to bridge this gap until it is eliminated.

Kunal and Savan, and brother Keval, who was unable to attend the event due to urgent business, grew up in the Belgrave area of Leicester with very little money and, from a young age, had always maintained a determination to succeed.

MO BROS - students

Kunal and Savan talk to students

Kunal said: “We were born in Belgrave and were not brought up in the best of circumstances. But living in that environment meant we wanted it more. We knew we would have to work hard to get what we wanted but we were determined to succeed.

“If I were to give any advice it is surround yourself with people who want to do well. Be with good people. The support will help you to grow.

“I would say to any DMU students, get a mentor and communicate with your tutors. At the end of the day the university is there to help you. Tap into every resource that you can.

MO BROS - Derrick

Derrick from DSU speaks at the event

“I have my own business mentors and coaches who are more experienced in business than me and that helps tremendously.”

The Mo Bro's currently have the support of two Dragons. They are Peter Jones, who has interests in mobile phones, television, media, leisure and property, and Tej Lalvani, CEO of Vitabiotics which is the largest vitamin company in the UK by value sales, with a current group turnover of over £300 million a year.  

MO BROS - ben browne

DMU's Chief Operating Officer Ben Browne opens the event

Prior to the Mo Bro's talk Ben Browne, Chief Operating Officer for DMU, had stated that the university is aiming to reduce the attainment gap by two percent every year until it is eliminated. The gap is around 10.5 per cent but the university is heading in the right direction. The gap was reduced by three per cent last year.

Students and staff attending the event were asked to write down their ideas about bridging the attainment gap. There were four categories to look at:

  • Environment: Learning, living and social spaces
  • Curriculum: Appropriate and culturally aware
  • Development: Personal and academic
  • Community and belonging: Being a student at DMU

MO BROS - conference

Students discuss their ideas with DMU's Kaushika Patel 

Rochelle Eshun, third year Psychology student, said: “This is a great opportunity to talk and be involved, knowing that my voice matters and that everyone’s ideas here can help reduce the attainment gap.”

Fellow psychology student Deborah Timehin added: “People may not have considered how serious the issue is but coming along to an event like this shows that our university does care about our voices and that we can make an active change. It is a great feeling to know you can be part of a change.”

DMU has been named as one of six HE institutions and one FE college to be awarded £500,000 by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to bridge the attainment gap.

The money comes from the HEFCE Catalyst Fund, launched by the Government to address barriers to student success.

Posted on Wednesday 31st January 2018

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