The Centre for Student Entrepreneurship at Cardiff Metropolitan University is investing £6000 in six new start-up businesses following their Countdown to Launch programme which was held last week in Cardiff School of Management, Llandaff. The programme was sponsored by the Santander Universities programme and the Welsh Government.
The five-day course was designed for students and graduates who are looking to take forward a business idea. During the five days the budding entrepreneurs took part in a number of interactive workshops covering everything from finance and law to marketing and pitching. Workshops were delivered by the expert staff at the Centre for Student Entrepreneurship and industry professionals including Capital Law, KTS Owens Thomas and the National Centre for Product Design and Research (PDR).
The event began with a keynote address from Maria Leijerstam, founder of the adventure company Burn Series. Maria shared her fascinating story of becoming the first person to cycle to the South Pole, as well as her experience of starting her business which was born out of a passion for adventure.
The course also included an inspiring drama workshop aimed at instilling confidence and developing attendees' pitching skills. The workshop was delivered by trained actors Katy Owen and François Pandolfo, owners of the theatre company, Difficult Stage.
Attendees also benefitted from one-to-one mentoring from the Centre for Student Entrepreneurship throughout the week and support with identifying their skills and personal qualities in relation to entrepreneurship.
On the final day the students and graduates were given the opportunity to pitch to a panel for investment into their business. The panel consisted of Mark Hooper, owner of co-working community Indycube; Sarah Thomas, Manager of the Santander branch at Cardiff Metropolitan University; Phil Davies, owner of Hospital Innovations and Governor at Cardiff Metropolitan University and Ann Swift, Youth Entrepreneurship Manager at Welsh Government.
Of the 20 students and graduates who took part in Countdown to Launch, six were awarded funding to help start or further develop their business. The individuals supported were: Josh Barnett, founder of fashion brand Treatment Clothing; Julian Wreford, founder of app development company Wired Voltage Ltd.; Philippa Jones, founder of a sports science movement screening business; Abi Newbould, member of contemporary folk band Firewood Island; Aled Holcombe, who is starting an innovative fast food business and Scott Flear, founder of online Rugby magazine Rugby Warfare.
Prize winner Julian Wreford, who is a first-year Software Engineering student, had the following to say about the event:
'It was really great to see so much enthusiasm and drive for new business ventures- a truly inspiring experience. I would like to thank the team for this outstanding event, which I felt was completely relevant for me.'
The event was also beneficial to those who choose not to pitch or those who were not prize winners. Helen Gunter, a first year Complimentary Therapies student commented:
'What a brilliant week. Thank you so much to the Centre for Student Entrepreneurship team for running such an innovative and inspiring course. It wasn't my time to be an award winner, but I got so much excellent expert advice and insight out of it that will help me move my business forward so I certainly feel that I've still won.'
As well as receiving funding to help develop their businesses, the prize winners will receive ongoing mentoring and support from the Centre for Student Entrepreneurship as they grow and develop their businesses. Natasha Hashimi, Entrepreneurship Manager at Cardiff Metropolitan University commented:
'We are very excited to be supporting these six new start-up businesses and we look forward to being part of their entrepreneurial journey over the next year. It was a pleasure to witness the budding entrepreneurs developing in confidence over the five days and we are overwhelmed by the positive feedback that we have received from those who attended.'
Notes for editors:
The Centre for Student Entrepreneurship is a dedicated department at Cardiff Metropolitan University which was set up to help develop entrepreneurial skills in students and graduates. The Centre is part-funded by the Welsh Government under the Youth Entrepreneurship Strategy. Countdown to Launch was sponsored by Welsh Government and Santander Universities