UCL Alumni


Celebrating the talent, creativity and innovation of UCL’s alumni entrepreneurs and leaders

14 June 2024

Over 35 alumni came together at a reception hosted by UCL for London-based leaders and entrepreneurs.

All attendees at the reception for UCL alumni leaders and entrepreneurs pose for photo

The event, held at Riviera, a restaurant co-owned by UCL alumnus Alberto Zandi (MSc Technology Management 2021), celebrated UCL graduates who are leading the way in business, technology, finance, the creative industries and research.

The attendees, who graduated between 2006 and 2023, have accomplished remarkable feats across diverse fields, from Sioned Jones and Lydia Mapstone (PhD Chemistry, Biophysics, and Cell Biology 2022), founders of BoobyBiome, which harnesses breast milk microbiome science to improve infant health, to Mustafa Khanwala (MSc Engineering with Finance 2015), CEO of MishiPay, which enables shoppers to scan and pay for their shopping on their phones. Uniting all alumni is a dedication to making an impact in their respective industries and a mission to transform the world for the better.

Several guests had previously appeared in Forbes’ annual 30 Under 30 list, which celebrates the power of young entrepreneurs and leaders to transform business and society on the global stage. More than 100 UCL alumni have made the list since it was established in 2011.

Connecting with like-minded peers

At Riviera, guests networked over drinks and canapés, exchanging ideas, stories and entrepreneurial experiences.

Located in central London, Riviera is the latest restaurant venture by UCL alumnus Alberto Zandi. Alberto, who co-founded the Emerald Hospitality Group with his brother Arian, was recognised in the 2023 Forbes 30 Under 30 list for his entrepreneurial achievements.

During the evening, Alberto shared insights into his professional journey and the process of founding Emerald Hospitality Group. Alberto said: "Thank you UCL for putting together initiatives like this event. As entrepreneurs, we sometimes get hung up in our own industry dynamics, and nights like this allow us to freshen up by listening to other entrepreneurial journeys and applying lessons learned from other industries to our own.”

Angharad Milenkovic, Vice-President (Advancement) at UCL, reflected on why successful alumni leaders and entrepreneurs are an integral part of the university’s mission, saying: “The UCL alumni community is exceptional and the individuals in the room embody the boundary-pushing, initiative-taking ethos that is true of the university and its people. As we prepare to celebrate our bicentennial in 2026, the creativity, talents and expertise of our entrepreneurial community are paramount in shaping UCL's future and ensuring UCL's mission thrives in our third century."

Transforming knowledge and ideas into action

Many of the alumni present had established businesses while studying at UCL, taking advantage of the entrepreneurial opportunities available to them.

Dr Ruth Weir, Head of Entrepreneurship (UCL Innovation and Enterprise), spoke at the event about how UCL aims to nurture innovation and entrepreneurship among students, and how the university collaborates with students, staff and organisations to transform knowledge and ideas into solutions that benefit society.

UCL’s extracurricular entrepreneurship programme helps students and recent graduates develop entrepreneurial skills and mindsets regardless of discipline, giving them the skills they need to flourish in the careers they choose. Through the Hatchery incubator programme at UCL’s dedicated entrepreneurship hub in King’s Cross, which provides expert, practical, and confidential advice, as well as fully funded office space, students and recent graduates are supported in kick-starting and accelerating their own businesses or social ventures.

This reception marks the second event for alumni leaders and entrepreneurs, following the inaugural reception that took place in July 2023 at Coal Drops Yard in King's Cross.

Are you an entrepreneur or leader and would be interested in attending similar networking events in the future? Please email Andy Stirups (a.stirups@ucl.ac.uk), Senior Alumni and Supporter Relations Manager.