Entrepreneurial spirit not extinguished by war

Despite lockdowns and the war in Ukraine hampering the progress of his enterprises, Nikola Chakrakchiev did not let setbacks stop his career aspirations and has enrolled on a Business Management degree at UWTSD Birmingham.

Nikola moved to the UK just weeks before the lockdown of March 2020, from Bulgaria, where he ran a business importing and exporting fire and burglar alarms.

"When I came to the UK, I was armed with a three-year, exclusive contract with Tiras, a Ukrainian producer of burglar and fire alarms, who have been in the market for 30 years,” Nikola says. “They had granted me the exclusive rights of import to Bulgaria, the UK and 10 more EU states. I decided to start from the biggest market, and so I moved here.

"The lockdown had a devastating effect on all my projects and delayed my meetings with potential buyers by two years. Now the war has stalled all my Ukrainian projects to a screeching halt. So, while waiting for better times, I decided to refresh my knowledge through a university course, to prepare myself for the new business environment emerging after Covid and the international tension related to the war in Ukraine.

"The University of Wales Trinity Saint David was close to where I lived, and it is high in the statistics for quality of education and skills building. Here I find well-experienced specialists in their fields of Marketing, Accounting, Social Relations. The curriculum is so well-thought of. I also meet new people who in the future, will hopefully be part of my business network.

"My biggest challenges are related to time management. Working and studying at university was a new thing for me, and in the first semester I submitted all my assignments at the very last minute, one week after the assignment due date. But this is why I started this course – to develop myself in every aspect that I lacked expertise in.

"Since the day I started my studies, I have always recommended the course to my friends and acquaintances. A good university course is just the right recipe for a successful start and a nice career," he says from experience, because he is now working on the IT service desk on campus while also making the most of the student finance opportunities available.

His tutor, Eric Osei, says: "I have known Nikola as a class rep for his cohort, and as Programme Manager I can testify to Nikola's commitment and leadership qualities, as well as his invaluable contributions in student-staff meetings. Though he was impacted significantly by the Russian's invasion in Ukraine, he has shown an extreme level of focus and commitment to studies throughout the period."

Reflecting on his character, Nikola concludes: “I have always been an entrepreneur and I am constantly trying new ventures. So, I will continue developing new ideas until I turn them into self-sustaining businesses. I still have hope that after the war I’ll be able to concentrate on Ukraine again, because it was developing as an international high-tech hub. I hope that the human potential will not be lost in the war."

The BA Business Management at UWTSD’s Birmingham campus can be studied full- or part-time, on weekdays or weekends and is open to Home and International applicants.