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Cocktails and conversation

Southampton Science Park was delighted to welcome over one hundred people to 5 Benham Campus on Thursday 7th December for its inaugural Cocktails and Conversation event.

An event in three parts, guests were first introduced to a stunning facility provided by Grant Thornton at the Science Park, enhancing the Park’s role as an innovative hub for driving business growth. The newly opened Southampton Collaborative Working Space aims to promote connections and collaborations across the region’s business community. Comprising both informal and formal working spaces and a kitchen area, it is available for Science Park tenants and the wider business community to use for hosting meetings and events or simply to drop in and work in a shared space.

Next, guests were in for a tasty treat, courtesy of Bombay Sapphire. Brand Ambassador Sam Carter demonstrated how to create signature cocktail The Laverstoke (Winter Edition), a perfect showcase of the skill and artistry that are the very foundations of the iconic British gin. Colleague Amy Dobson spoke about how the unique Bombay Sapphire is created to perfection at its stunning Laverstoke Mill distillery, all the while setting new standards in environmental sustainability.


Finally, University of Southampton alumni Shirin Dehghan took centre stage to inspire everyone present with her superbly honest and insightful story which took her from war-torn Iran to hugely successful female entrepreneur and mother. Shirin’s candid presentation revealed the harsh lessons that she learnt on her extraordinary journey from tech start-up to successful exit, and how her early life played a major role in shaping her ability to adapt, work hard and beat all odds to achieve success.

“Starting your own business is like jumping off a cliff; you have no idea what’s waiting for you – rocky waters or a soft landing. However, faced with the alternative of looking back and asking myself ‘what if?’ I decided to take the plunge,” Shirin commented. It paid off. Eleven years after her business Arieso was born, she negotiated its sale for a cool $85m.

The Science Park team wishes to thank everyone who attended this event and contributed to its success. We would also like to extend our gratitude to everyone who kindly helped us to raise £1500 for Shirin’s chosen charity, Cancer Research UK.

Starting your own business is like jumping off a cliff; you have no idea what’s waiting for you...

Shirin Dehghan, University of Southampton alumni

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