Two entrepreneurs from Cardiff Metropolitan University are to receive support from the Welsh Government's Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme (AGP) which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The programme, delivered by the Excelerator Consortia (Winning Pitch and Impact Innovation), provides specialist tailored support for businesses with the ambition to significantly accelerate their growth and fulfil their high growth potential.
Following advice from Cardiff Met's Centre for Entrepreneurship, textile student Jenny Evans and podiatry medicine graduate David Barton were both accepted onto the programme.
The Accelerated Growth Programme forms part of the Welsh Government Business Wales service that provides support right across Wales for aspiring entrepreneurs, start-ups, and existing micro-businesses and SMEs, including social enterprises. Business Wales engages across the entrepreneurial cycle, from primary education to established SMEs.
David Barton established KAYDIAR earlier this year. The medical company specialises primarily in prefabricated offloading devices that relieve high pressure areas of the body. The initial product produced by the company is the Cell Orthoses: a modular based, fully customisable insole that offloads pressure-induced plantar foot lesions such as diabetic ulcerations and callosities. The mechanism will be incorporated into various accessories that will accommodate those who are subject to pressure sores affecting other anatomical regions including wheelchair and bedbound individuals.
David said: "I am truly thankful to Cardiff Met for its support in applying for the Accelerated Growth programme and for patenting the KAYDIAR design. It is a unique product that has the potential to aid the recovery of foot ulcerations in the diabetic foot, preventing further complications and amputations and potentially saving the NHS millions of pounds per year."
Jenny Evans became last year's Student Entrepreneur of the Year for Wales' runner up and was also crowned 2017 Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards winner after founding textile design business, Jenny Evans Designs – now Jenny Kate. The creative company celebrates nature with thoughtful designs captured from a unique perspective and produces bespoke products for people around the world. Jenny, who is currently looking forward to launching her own homeware collection following her graduation this year, said: "I absolutely love my course, and Cardiff School of Art and Design has been so supportive, offering a lot of one-to-one support to help grow my business. I recently visited Borneo as research assistant to Cardiff Met's Head of Textiles, Dr Keireine Canavan, which was a once in a lifetime experience. We lived alongside tribal weavers and learnt about ancient weaving and dyeing techniques, as well as attending an international textiles conference in Kuching. I honestly couldn't have got to where I am without Cardiff Met."
The Centre for Entrepreneurship is Cardiff Metropolitan University's dedicated department to support students' business ideas and help individuals become entrepreneurial and learn new skills. The unit runs a wide range of events and activities for students and graduates across the university from workshops and networking events to competitions, skills development programmes and funding opportunities.
Entrepreneurial advisor for Cardiff Met, Steve Aicheler, said: "The fact that we have two students receiving support from the Business Wales Accelerated Growth programme demonstrates the high quality of support and development that we offer at the university. The Centre for Entrepreneurship provides crucial one-to-one support to help guide students and graduates on their business start-up journey and beyond. We wish David and Jenny the best of luck, not only on the programme but in their future careers. We've no doubt we'll see amazing things from them both."
Steve Young, Director of Winning Pitch said "We're excited to have these ambitious young businesses on the programme and look forward to supporting them. We will be tailoring specific work packages of support targeted at their critical growth challenges. In this way we can help them grow faster, stronger for longer."
For further information on Cardiff Metropolitan University's Centre for Entrepreneurship www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/business/cse.
For further information on the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme. https://businesswales.gov.wales/growth/