Status: 2018 Graduate
Isatou came to Cardiff Metropolitan University to pursue her dream of becoming an entrepreneur and proceed with her business idea. She heard about the Centre for Entrepreneurship during her third year and continues to have support from them as a graduate.
Isatou's business idea is a refreshing healthy drink based on an African recipe. The idea started about 9 years ago but she didn't feel it was the right time for her. So she decided to come to Cardiff Met to help her learn more and build her idea. The business is still at an early stage, however primary market research has been undertaken and the drink is soon to be sold to the public. Isatou's aim is to introduce the drink to the UK beverage industry very soon.
Support from the Centre
The centre has helped Isatou move her business from an idea to the next level. Interacting with the centre has helped boost her confidence as well as develop her knowledge. She says Dewi and Steve have helped her with her finances, advice, creating business contacts, networking and pointing her towards relevant training programmes. She has also been introduced to potential investors.
Isatou feels like she can share any of her ideas with the team, get the necessary support and drop in when needed.
"They feel more like family, I can ask them anything I want"
"Countdown to Launch was so exciting!" Isatou entered the 5 day business programme which runs yearly and says it contributed to taking her product to the next stage, with feedback from the panel and fellow students. She won £1000 on the last day of pitching, which has helped to pay costs for the microbiological and lab testing to ensure her drink is safe for consumption.
Her aim is get the product on the market in Wales and eventually to rest of the UK. Isatou is currently making the drink from her kitchen but the plan is to grow and hopefully outsource it to production companies and one day get her own production company and make her products in a factory.
Status- 2017 Graduate
EstNetNG Award Winner 2018
David founded the company Kaydiar Ltd alongisde Co-founder Heather Smart, following ground-breaking design work undertaken while studying towards a BSc (hons) in Podiatry at Cardiff School of Podiatric medicine.
The medical company specialises primarily in anti-pressure technology for pressure induced wounds and in particular the diabetic foot. The aim is to offload pressure on very severe lesions on the plantar aspect of the foot.
Since winning the ESTnetNG 2018 Tech Award, David has been able to accelerate his product development and is now working on its route into to manufacture. He is confident that the product will appeal to several market applications including the NHS.
Starting a Business after graduating from Cardiff Met
David was always surrounded by successful people in his family that run their own businesses. During his time studying Podiatry he always liked the idea of starting his own clinic. However, he also had a fascination for medical devices and was inspired to start his own venture and see if he could solve a problem in diabetes. This is what led him to do this as a project for his dissertation.
He tested his initial ideas at the Gate Lab facilities at Cardiff Metropolitan University and although the results were mediocre, they gave him an insight into the potential of what the business could be. He was then introduced to the Centre for Entrepreneurship which helped him with his business planning, financial planning, and receiving NHS bursaries. Ultimately, the Centre also supported him in gaining a space on external programmes such as the Accelerator Growth Programme Wales (AGP) which has helped secure angel investors.
Additionally, the centre has also provided contacts for both founders of the company, so that they can explore other financial opportunities and expertise.
Countdown to Launch Programme
David entered Countdown to Launch, which is a 5 day business programme run yearly to help students gain all the knowledge they need to kick-start a business. Following a business pitch in front of a panel of judges at the end of the week, David was awarded £1000 to help his start his venture. With these funds he was able to buy raw materials for 3D printing, develop a website and pay for a graphic designer.
A Santander Entrepreneurship Bursary is designed to support students to start or grow their business. Successful applicants receive £150 per week for a period of 13 weeks to help the initial stages of setting up a business. Following a thorough application…the Santander bursaries allowed David to continue R&D and networking over 6-month period, which at the time, was crucial for his company's growth.
"Thanks to these bursaries, the company has now landed seed investment from a PLC medical company which in turn has allowed us to conduct clinical case studies within the NHS. This would therefore give us the crucial data to present to our investor and to the NHS, which will be critical for future sales".
David had to develop a business plan, a financial forecast and a slide deck. The centre for entrepreneurship supported David throughout the process and offered continuous feedback with pitching to investors.
They are now at a Seed stage and have already started small scale production runs for their prototype, which will enter the NHS later in the summer. Both the founders and the investor plan to negotiate Kaydiar's A round of investment later this year and discuss future application for their technology.