Spotlight On … Peter Oboko

The IOEE’s close links with IOEE Centre of Excellence London South Bank University (LSBU) continue to grow and strengthen. To showcase the sterling work being done there in the field of enterprise in education, by students and staff alike, we’re running a series of case studies letting you know about various LSBU projects and people. This month, we met Peter Oboko, a second-year Architecture student who has started his own ambitious printing company, which he runs in parallel with his learning.

Like many solid enterprises, Personal-Printers was developed in direct response to customers’ needs. Peter Oboko realised that industrial printing companies servicing his fellow students weren’t quite meeting the mark. Along with fellow young entrepreneur Amir El Harbe he set out to seize the opportunity circumstance had presented. The pair bought their own printer and set out to offer a new way for students to print their work. We asked Peter what sets his business apart from its competitors:

“We deliver prints directly to our customers and pride ourselves on being both convenient and flexible with regards to the customers’ needs. You could almost call us the Uber of printing. I understand the stress of printing and how ease can play a big part in the company you choose. As students we work until all hours of the night and trying to find a company to accommodate our unpredictable schedule can be difficult to do.”

Personal-Printers mainly print for architectural / design students and professionals in those industries, with the prints hand-delivered to each customer. Because the entire business is based online, the students upload their work and place their order, letting Peter and Amir know where they’re based. Simplicity is key to Personal-Printers’, as Peter explains:

“We’ve stripped down all the jargon other printing companies use. Industrial printing companies often deal with bulk orders and tend to have more options than necessary – we’ve narrowed the service down to exactly what students need.”

As an entrepreneurial student, Peter has become involved in LSBU’s Spark programme. This initiative was set up to support students who have either the bare bones of an enterprising idea, or who have already made moves to establish their own small enterprises. Spread across two university semesters, Peter is currently in his second Spark stage. He says:

“The group gets together and discusses ideas around how to reach target audiences, different ways to expand our businesses or how to put the right groundwork in place before officially starting out.”

Different members of the Spark group take from the process different types of learning. For some it’s about clarifying business ideas, for others it’s a fresh take on finance or cash flow; for Peter the initiative has brought new perspective to marketing. He explains:

“For me personally Spark has been helpful in learning about good marketing. The group has poked a few holes in our business setup, which we needed because when you’re in the business you see things completely differently from those outside. Speaking to the Spark group has highlighted ways we can improve and how we can market ourselves differently.”

Personal-Printers isn’t Peter’s first foray into the world of enterprise. For him, making money on the back of an inspired idea is a way of life and even as a child his entrepreneurial streak was showing itself:

“When I was young, around 13 or 14, I used to sell ready-made Scoubidou Strings, the knotting craft for children. I’d buy a bulk of strings and make them into a popular style then sell these at double the price as I knew fellow students were too lazy to make their own!”

The future too looks full of entrepreneurial endeavour. When Peter’s course ends in 2018, he plans to combine the professional training he’s gained as an architect and the entrepreneurial flair that is obviously part of his nature. He says:

“The goal is for Personal-Printers to continue to grow and hopefully become independent of my participation. Myself and Amir would like to incorporate our architectural skills into a new venture in the near future, we have a few ideas that we are working on at the moment so look out for us!”

To find out more about Peter and Amir’s business you can visit www.personal-printers.com