Meet Heraldas Gaspariunas, an entrepreneur who is passionate about growing his biotech start-up and is committed to embracing new experiences and lifelong learning.
|Current job role||CEO of biotech start-up ACellZ|
|Year of graduation||2020|
|Course of study||BA (Hons) International Business|
International Business graduate Heraldas is co-founder and CEO of an early-stage biotech start-up, ACellZ. His company is based on research developed by University of Hertfordshire PhD students and is focused on chemical safety in the eye. He says, ‘My goal is to grow a successful start-up, where I can continue to learn and improve myself, both personally and professionally. I love working with people to find innovative solutions to problems. I look forward to one day becoming a mentor for others like me within this field.’
Heraldas has been very successful in securing large grants to grow his business, these include £50K from Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research (ICURe), and £300K from Innovate UK.
In 2021 Heraldas represented the University of Hertfordshire at the Santander X 2021 Entrepreneurship Awards, which is one of the UK's largest student and graduate business pitching competitions. Heraldas says, ‘The Santander X programme really helped my professional development. It was an amazing opportunity to support and learn from like-minded entrepreneurs. The weekly workshops allowed me to learn new skills and supported my growth as an entrepreneur, CEO, and a leader. During Santander X, I was also selected to participate in the 'Founders Up!' project, which documents my journey during and after the Santander X programme via podcasts for future entrepreneurs to see.’
A global student experience
Heraldas applied to the University of Hertfordshire to benefit from expert lecturers and the opportunity of studying abroad. He says, ‘The option of studying abroad for two years during my four-year degree was a huge selling point for me, and after visiting the Hertfordshire Business School facilities and meeting some of the lecturers, I knew Herts was the right place.’
‘In every country I visited during my study abroad, I met so many amazing people and made long-lasting friendships. I explored new cultures and broadened my understanding of global business, which has had a positive impact on shaping my life aspirations. I studied in Australia for one year, six-months in Norway, and completed an internship with FlixBus in Germany for seven months. If I had to choose one memorable moment it would be jumping out of a plane and swimming with turtles in Australia.’
Embracing opportunities at Herts
Heraldas has continued to receive support from Herts since embarking on his entrepreneurial journey. ‘I have benefited a lot from the support given to me by the University of Hertfordshire. My first graduate job was as a Business Associate through a Santander internship with a company called ImmuONE, which I applied for through the University’s Careers and Employment Service. Meeting talented researchers at ImmuONE kick-started the opportunity for me to establish my own company ACellZ.’
‘It was also the Careers and Enterprise Team who put me forward for the Santander X awards and they supported me with preparations for my ICURe pitch. In July 2021, I joined the University’s Business Incubator to further learn from like-minded entrepreneurs.’
Advice for other graduates
‘A love for learning and personal development does not necessarily come from knowing what you want but believing it will benefit you in reaching your dreams someday. Getting to this point has required hard work, persistence, and a willingness to go outside my comfort zone'.