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The Venture Programme equips students and graduates with the skills and knowledge to start up a business or build their freelance career. It is comprised of nine modules which cover different aspects of starting up a business. These are: Setting Up; Sales and Marketing; Business Responsibility; Finance and Funding; Enterprise Skills; Business Planning; Legal Matters; Online Marketing and 1-to-1 business advice surgeries. 

Students and graduates who had been involved in the Venture Programme over the year had the opportunity to apply for The Pitch 2019, with the aim of winning start-up funding, courtesy of Santander Universities UK. Following a competitive application process, nine businesses were shortlisted to pitch. Shortlisted candidates attended a full day of workshops, around the theme ‘Your First Year in Business’, followed by the pitch day itself.

Judged by Mike Skinner, RTC North; John Farrell, Ellis and Co.; Robert Simmonds, Santander Universities; Andrew Davey, INDUSTRY Chester CoWorking; Hems de Winter, Hems de Winter Consulting and Louise Hope, motivational speaker, participants were asked to deliver a five minute pitch outlining their business idea and model. Following their pitches, seven businesses were awarded a share of £7,000 start-up funding, courtesy of Santander Universities, through the Excellence in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Scholarship. Various other business support prizes were also awarded during the event.

The following people/ businesses were successful with their pitches:

  • Henry Sidsaph, a Doctor of Philosophy, was awarded £2,000 for Mitengo Coffee whose vision is to sustain ‘tree planting through ethical coffee’. Henry was also awarded a £400 Careers and Employability Enterprise Grant, a branded merchandise bundle and he received the University’s very first Forresters Award, receiving trademark consultancy and a £200 cash prize.
  • Gillian Smith, who is studying a Master’s in Psychology, was awarded £2,000 for Tailored Yarn; a company which writes and illustrates bespoke, beautiful children’s stories for families battling with cancer or other terminal illnesses. Gillian was also awarded a £400 Careers and Employability Enterprise Grant, a 1-to-1 social media diagnostic and 1-to-1 marketing consultancy.
  • George Evans, a final year History and International Relations student, and Michael Doyle, a Geography and International Development graduate, were awarded £1,000 towards the development of Peaks and Coasts Ltd. The company offers premium quality, environmentally friendly glamping pod retreats within North Cornwall. George and Michael were also awarded 1-to-1 business coaching and a professional logo design.
  • Rosemary Ruhesi, who is studying a Master’s in Food Innovation, was awarded £600 for her Ugii Cup idea. The Ugii Cup is an instant maize porridge fortified with powdered milk and vitamins, packaged in a single meal sachet to tackle malnutrition amongst internally displaced people. Rosemary was also awarded a professional photography package and a professional logo design.
  • Toshaan Malik, an MSc Management graduate, was awarded £500 for Digital Robin; a company which offers a complete suite of digital marketing services to help start-ups, small businesses and brands to achieve their goals and to assist entrepreneurs to discover their digital wings. Toshaan also received an iPad, a £400 Careers and Employability Enterprise Grant and a desk within INDUSTRY.
  • Martin Beddis, who is studying a Master’s in Sports Coaching and Development, was awarded £500 for his innovation SprayShieldUK design which reduces the amount of surface spray on British roads. Martin was also awarded a desk within INDUSTRY.
  • Holly Royle, who is studying a Master’s in 19th-Century Literature and Culture, was awarded £400 for Deviate PR Ltd., a PR and social media management company that specialises in the promotion of alternative and heavy metal music. Holly was also awarded a £400 Careers and Employability Enterprise Grant, a start-up website and 1-to-1 business coaching.
  • Xavier Ebanks who is studying a Master’s in Biomedical Science, was awarded a £400 Careers and Employability Enterprise Grant, an iPad and a professional logo design for CMECaribbean Group Limited – a medical education platform with a focus on providing quality continuing education events to the healthcare community in the Caribbean.
  • Phoebe Phillips, an International Business Management with Spanish student and Ayfer Aram, a Law with Business student, were awarded a professional logo design for, a platform to order takeaway foods which removes high commission charges for restaurant owners.

Kirsty Badrock, Venture Programme Co-ordinator within the Careers and Employability – Student Futures team, said: “The Pitch 2019 showcased a fantastic amount of entrepreneurial spirit and talent from across the University. It was an incredibly inspiring, positive, fun few days where the students and graduates showed real commitment and passion in pursuing their business ideas. Congratulations to all those who received funding, and a variety of business support prizes. We wish you every continued success with your business ideas!”

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