When Gabriel Moreno took up a part-time job as a Subway sandwich artist during his degree, he could not have imagined that years later he would be a Shareholder and Director of a franchise group with over 30 stores across the South of England.

Gabriel, who came to the UK from Venezuela to improve his English before enrolling on BU’s BA (Hons) in International Business Communication, had an interest in business from an early age. He began working for Subway as a means of earning money alongside his studies, but soon realised the opportunities to forge an entrepreneurial career.

He said: “I quickly progressed to supervisory and then management roles and realised that I could draw on my skills and experience to build a business of my own. My time at BU built my confidence, and getting involved in initiatives such as becoming a student rep gave me experience of working with people in more senior positions and discussing organisational issues.

“With that said, becoming a business owner did not come without its challenges. In the early days I had to develop my skills in managing teams of people, and then in managing the managers of

teams. Today it is less about people management and more about developing the systems that enable us to operate effectively and to increase the scale of what we do – and some of that I can still link back to my studies at BU.”

Since developing the Subway franchise, Gabriel and his business partner have expanded into a second franchise with technology retailer CeX. He said: “While the franchise model is similar, the culture of the two organisations is very different. Subway outlets tend to have a more transient staff team, so recruitment and managing turnover is a factor. At CeX, people tend to work for the organisation because they love the products, particularly the games, and so want to stay and develop their careers because of that passion.

“Working through both businesses, the biggest thing I have had to learn is to how delegate and build trust and capacity in others. Ultimately you must be able to step back, put in place processes and controls, and trust your teams to deliver what they are capable of.”

Fifteen years after graduating, Gabriel is now again involved with BU as a member of the Business Studies Alumni Panel. He said: “I think it’s important to give back and to support students as they start out on their own journeys. I still remember being inspired by a particular guest lecture during my course and I hope I can provide some insights and advice that will be helpful for others.”