Tell us about your project 

My project is NEVER LIGHT, an eco-friendly sportswear brand focusing on high-quality fitness apparel that is printed on eco-friendly material and to order, which means no wasted stock, making it better for the planet. I made the brand with myself as the target market: someone who goes to the gym and wants to help the planet. This is because I wanted a like-minded consumer base which could lead the way to a passionate and enthusiastic community. 

What impact has the Ignite Fund made on your University experience? 

I have always thought I was not good enough to take part in extracurricular activities; whenever there was an event or campaign going on in primary or secondary school, I felt left out and filled with anxiety because I felt like I would be rejected anyway. Ignite Fund has really shown me the extent of what I can be a part of. After being awarded the Ignite Fund, I went on to become the president of a society, went on a university trip to Copenhagen and participated in all kinds of fairs and events around the university. The Ignite Fund made me realise I am just as good as anyone else and can participate and take part in these events made specifically for people like me. 

What challenges did you overcome to get to University? 

I am the first in my immediate family to go to University. Neither of my parents was educated past primary school, so I’ve always thought my worldview would be obstructed like theirs. I also went through a very depressive phase during my teenage years, which really affected my grades and made me determined that university wasn’t the right choice for me. Luckily, I overcame these barriers and joined the University of Westminster through clearing. Since joining university my outlook on life has changed and I went from someone who thought I would end up unqualified and uneducated to someone with a degree, a grant winner, head of a society, a course rep and a supervisor at my part time job.  

Why do you feel that funding, such as that from the Ignite Fund, is important for students like yourself to have access to? 

Having access to funding like the Ignite Fund meant I could bring my project to life. I think there are so many benefits for students to have access to funds like these. Pitching and presenting my project has really helped build up my confidence. Without the Ignite Fund, I would have never known I had what it takes to present an idea clearly to judges; this, along with the amazing support network, means the Ignite Fund can pave the way for future successful entrepreneurs and business owners. 

What are your plans for the future, and how does your project contribute to them? 

My dream is to have my own company, but my project has shown me a lot of things to consider before embarking on such a journey. I really believe that careful planning and strategy are crucial for any successful business. My plan is to start working in an industry where I can build a wide network of professionals and work on my projects in my spare time. Within due time after careful planning and building up capital I hope to launch a business that I am passionate about and become an inspiring leader.  

Support more students like Cumali by donating to the Ignite Fund