It was at the 5th annual 13D Competition that Mr. Gumbs, or Aron as he prefers to be called, placed third and won $10,000 to start his business, King Events. The University of the Virgin Islands 13D Student Entrepreneurship Competition, held annually, focuses on grooming and creating entrepreneurs locally and abroad. As Aron likes to put it, his business focuses on “design with attention to detail.” When he envisioned this company in 2016, he had two objectives: to give clients an unforgettable experience and to create innovative events.
But owning an events planning company was not his original dream. In the first stages of the competition, Aron presented a concept to build a resort. Confident in his plan, when asked by the committee if he planned to do this with only $30,000, he responded “Yea its more than I’ve ever had!” After considering the feedback of the advisory committee, he realized that he didn’t have realistic goals and had overestimated the possibilities that $30,000 could do.
When asked how his business has grown since entering 13D, Aron, who graduated from the University in 2017, readily replied that King Events has been a successful endeavor. He elaborated, stating, “my business has grown tremendously since then and an unusually high demand has caused us to have to revisit the products and services we offer.” He highlighted that he now receives business on a more regular basis and now also has steady clients. Aron wholeheartedly recommends not only persons who dream about being entrepreneurs, but anyone qualified to enter the competition to do so. “My only suggestion would be to start with the Annual Hackathon and work your way up. It is a great opportunity to develop professionally and win free money while you’re at it,” Gumbs advises.
Having to go back to the drawing board, Aron was lost. He always knew that he was more of a hands-on creative person but considered that to be more of a hobby than a business, until one night when he was getting ready for bed, he thought to himself, “Aron, why not King Events? You the king! You right and then events, because you love to do events! So boom, that’s the name of your business.” From there he began branding. If he took a photo he captioned it #kingphotography, if he cooked, #kingcuisine. Inspired, he hurriedly contacted Dr. Tim Faley about his new idea and he said “ok sure. Let’s see what you can do.” Following that conversation Aron decided to do a trial run event sponsored by the Reichhold Center for the Arts to host a moonlight Valentines dinner where he served a five-course meal with the assistance of UVI’s Tourism and Hospitality students.
Aron’s passion for beautiful designs and memorable experiences has caused him to use Kings Events to physically and conceptually manifest his craft. He echoes that “at King Events, the primary focus is bringing clients’ incredible love story and vision to life through design, organization, and careful planning,” he says. King Events provides an unparalleled level of service to each of their clients, whether large or small, with their unique and creative planning experience, he says.
“Through professionalism and dedication we at King Events continue to make every event extraordinary.”-Aron Gumbs
Gumbs has a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management.
The 13D Competition is made possible through a $5 million gift to UVI from investment strategist and entrepreneur Kiril Sokoloff, the founder of 13D Research and an Entrepreneurship Speaker Series. In addition to the competition, Sokoloff endowed UVI’s Distinguished Chair of Entrepreneurship, held by Dr. Timothy Faley. The limitations for entering this competition are almost non-existent; the competition is open to all disciplines and all classifications. The only requirement is for the participants to be passionate about their business idea, to be persistent and committed, and most importantly possess the willingness to work hard for the opportunity of a lifetime. Meet any of these requirements, and one has the chance to win up to $30,000.