Students use competition to accelerate their business journey

Entrepreneurial student from Swansea University are celebrating after winning cash backing to help them develop their unique business ideas.

Their concepts were put through their paces at a special five-day event developed by the University’s Enterprise Team aimed at giving students a grounding in the skills needed to start and grow their business.

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Student Jack Davies pitching to the judges during the event.

The Test Your idea-Accelerator Programme covered essential business skills needed from planning a business through to its launch.

As part of the programme, 13 students had the opportunity to pitch for investment funding to help them get on their way, make new business connections and be mentored, as they embark on their venture. Over the week, they studied marketing, finance, how to work effectively in a team and how best to present their ideas.

Students were given a chance to show off just how much they had learned on the final day when 11 ideas were pitched to a panel of judges, who ended up awarding just over £5,000 from Santander Universities investment, into nine successful projects. 

Judging panelJudging panel (from left) entrepreneur Vianney Wilson, of  Reignite,  Danielle Fletcher, of Santander Universities and Chris James,  owner of Ciotek. 

Charlotte Crawford, who has just graduated with a BSc in Business from the School of Management, was given £250 to help her purchase essential domain names for her fledgling resistance band business.

She said the competition had given her a chance to enhance the business skills she had acquired during her four-year course with some additional practical experience.

“Taking part in the programme has completely changed my mind set and inspired me to take the leap and start my own business,” she said.

Other successful students included Jack Davies, (pictured) from the College of Engineering, who secured the highest individual cash award of £1,250 towards his idea Motor Mate.

Fellow competitor PhD student Rakiya Mamman (below) received £800 to help progress her tech start-up.

The varied pitches which earned financial support also included an app to promote social interaction, hair and beauty products for black and ethnic minority hair and healthy post-workout smoothies.

Head of Engagement, Innovation & Entrepreneurship Emma Dunbar said the programme was just one of the ways the University encourages and support business-minded students, on their business journey.

“We are very proud of our Students and our Entrepreneurship Strategy which sets out our University’s commitment to providing our students with opportunities to test and validate their business ideas in a safe environment, gain valuable real life experiences and to develop their skills to meet the challenges ahead.

“We are delighted to be able to help them gain an entrepreneurial mind-set and the skills to prepare them for a world of uncertainty and opportunities, and an increasingly competitive labour market.”

Entrepreneurship Officer Kelly Jordan said: This was the first time we have run this five-day programme and it really was a great success.

 “We had great feedback from the students who took part who said they particularly valued the advice and new skills they picked up.

"We were very impressed by the wide range of ideas presented this year and look forward to following their progress towards the market place.”

Find out more about the support offered by the Enterprise Team