Status: Graphics Communication student.
Maris first got to know about the Centre for Entrepreneurship from events like 'Meet n Mingle', 'Google Digital Garage' and the '24 hr App Challenge'. During her second year she took a module called "Mind Your Own Business" and started to access the team at the Centre for Entrepreneurship. Her interaction with them has grown over time, giving her the chance to start doing some graphics design freelance work.
"I've always had a curiosity for business and entrepreneurship although I've never studied it."
Mind Your Own Business Idea
With "Mind Your Own Business" module Maris was put into a group of five, with just 5 weeks to develop a business from scratch. The team's business idea was to take glass bottles that would be thrown away and to recycle them into jewellery and candle holders. The products were really popular and exceeded their expectations. Maris was then approached by the team and encouraged to take part in the Big Ideas Wales competition. Maris' team made a video for the application, got through and went to Bangor to pitch their idea to a panel of judges which led them to winning the Environmental Impact award and receiving great feedback.
Count Down to Launch
The team also attended Countdown to Launch to help them gain more business knowledge and acquire all the tools they would need to progress. The 5 day course is packed with information and was a great chance to meet other students looking to start a business. They had the chance to pitch and exhibit their work, successfully gaining some funding.
The business has been on hold due to University commitments but the team are still keen to carry the idea through and see what happens. "It's quite exciting to think that a uni module has grown into what it has, it was very unexpected".
There are so many opportunities and events that the Centre for Entrepreneurship offer and there are always things happening. Maris would advise anyone to grab opportunities with both hands because you just don't know where they are going to lead to. "If someone had told me that the business would have got to where it is now, I probably would have laughed."
"It's by coming to these sorts of events and putting myself out there that has really helped me. It's scary but it allows you to meet new friends, grow your confidence and gain so many more opportunities like freelancing for the Centre for Entrepreneurship." Maris has designed the logos for 'Concept' and 'Pitch it' events run by the centre.
Taking part in events with the Centre for Entrepreneurship has given her the confidence to go into freelance work or to set something up herself. This is definitely an option she would consider as she knows the support is there. However, she is also interested in working in an agency and knows she enjoys it from previous placements she has experienced. She is also considering a Masters- so it's all about realising that there is no one way street after Uni.
Interacting with the Centre for Entrepreneurship has taught her not only business knowledge and all that you have to think about when starting a business or going freelance, but other skills such as pitching have been hugely beneficial, particularly being in a design industry. It has also given her the confidence to grab opportunities as they arise and not be afraid of trying new things.
Status: Textiles student and working towards Masters in Global Design.
Rachel was encouraged to get involved with the Centre for entrepreneurship by former student and award winning entrepreneur Jenny Evans who was in her class at the time.
As a single parent and not able to work normal hours or travel far, Rachel wanted to look into building her own business around the hours she had available and learn how to make her work profitable.
"The experience has been very different to my expectations. I thought I would learn the best way to start a business and how to get funding, bookkeeping etc. Instead my eyes have been opened to the infinite possibilities of entrepreneurship, social enterprise and the power of networking."
Benefits of Interacting with the Centre for Entrepreneurship
The experiences with the Centre for Entrepreneurship have given Rachel confidence and widened her business horizons. She says her involvement with events and workshops have given her a much larger network of fellow entrepreneurial students and businesses; as well as giving her a direction she had never had never thought about, social enterprise.
Rachel recommends the Centre for Entrepreneurship to all students, as joining a course or workshop can open up many opportunities and help students recognise opportunities as they arise. Every event she has attended have been incredibly valuable and has allowed her to learn something new each time.
Countdown to Launch
"Countdown to Launch was very intense. I hadn't expected to spend so many hours working on our idea in just one week. It showed me what is possible when you really try though."
Rachel was part of a small group of 3 people with very different backgrounds and expectations which managed to come up with an idea, research, plan, cost it and learn how to create and deliver a business pitch in 4 days. When she first got involved with the centre, her idea was to run a cottage industry style business out of her home, thinking that anything more than that would be beyond her capabilities.
Taking part in Countdown to Launch changed her mind set and has allowed her to realise the endless opportunities that are available as well as recognising what she is capable of achieving.
Enactus UK is a global organisation that has student led lead teams in universities all over the world. It is an opportunity for students to make a difference in their local community whilst developing the skills to become socially responsible business leaders.
Rachel got involved in the first year of Enactus at Cardiff Metropolitan in 2018 and has already learnt some invaluable skills such as: Recruitment skills and presentation, idea generation and needs assessment, entrepreneurial thinking and team management.
"I feel so involved with it now I can't wait to get started in September."
My plans for the future are to finish my Masters course over the next two years while working on Enactus projects and continuing to build my network and experience. Eventually I would love to run a makers collective and education centre based around the traditional textile skills and modern research. It would focus on cultural change and consumer education to work towards sustainable textile use. It will involve a lot of grass and fundraising as well as several different possible income streams.
"Since doing these courses and then working on Enactus I have realised that I am not limited to being a sole trader but could also run a much larger business, even as a single mum."