A new app which connects students with the best deals from local businesses to help with the cost of living has won the ‘Graduate Business of the Year’ award at Cardiff Metropolitan University’s annual entrepreneurship awards.
UniWOM was set up by Cardiff Met business and management graduate, Harris Cole, from Cardiff, and Business and MBA marketing graduate, Louis Cochrane, from Cwmbran.
The app launched in September 2022 and helps students find local recommended businesses offering collaborations, exclusive discounts and offers, from restaurants, to barbers, night clubs and shops. The website and app currently has 40-50 local businesses listed.
Harris, 25, explained how the launch of the app was well-timed and is getting a positive response: “Users have been stressed about the cost-of-living crisis and have said that they have been making cutbacks on going out and eating out. They are really happy that UniWOM is helping them save money locally on a large variety of local businesses.”
The idea for UniWOM first came to Harris when he started university. Harris said: “On the first day of Freshers, after being dropped off at my accommodation, I desperately needed a haircut. I felt overwhelmed and had no clue where other students went and where I could get a good deal on a haircut. The idea for the app came from my first-hand experience of moving away from home, feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to go in the local area.”
UniWOM enables students to explore their city from the comfort of their phone, helping to make the experience of moving to a new city less daunting and easier to find places where they can save money. The app also allows users to find places other students love with student-to-student recommendations.
Both Harris and Louis wanted to run their own business from a young age. Even though they both studied at Cardiff Met, they met after they’d graduated through the University’s
Centre for Entrepreneurship’s Facebook page. The Centre helps students develop an entrepreneurial mind-set and will facilitate this by working collaboratively with academic colleagues to support entrepreneurship education.
The annual Day of Entrepreneurship Awards Ceremony at Cardiff Met celebrates the entrepreneurial achievements of students, graduates and staff across Cardiff Met. In 2022, the Centre for Entrepreneurship supported 51 new businesses to launch and three social enterprises.
Steve Aicheler, Entrepreneurship Manager, within the Centre for Entrepreneurship at Cardiff Metropolitan University, said: “Students who come to the Centre wanting to start their own business have the passion and determination and often just need some guidance in getting the business up and running.
“The Day of Entrepreneurship Award ceremony is a great opportunity to recognise the achievements of our students and we’d like to congratulate all who were nominated or won an award this year.”
Louis, 26, said: “The best time to start a business is while you're in uni. No idea is too small and no idea is too big, you just need to do your research and plan a way you can start it from the bottom up. Most importantly, get involved with the Centre for Entrepreneurship because they provide great support, advice and funding opportunities when you're ready for it. I can’t thank them enough for the help and support over the years.”
At present, Harris and Louis are both working whilst trying to evolve UniWOM. Their goal is to run the business full-time, making it the central part of every student’s university experience worldwide.