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We caught up with Holly and asked her to talk us through her experience with The Venture Programme.

The Venture Programme helps you develop skills, knowledge and connections to become self-employed or freelance. Our Venture events are designed to prepare you for the world of business, helping you navigate your next steps and make things happen.

What attracted you to the University of Chester?

“I initially came to the University of Chester to complete my undergraduate degree in English Language and Literature. The enthusiasm of the English lecturers, and the department as a whole, led to my decision to study here. Having enjoyed the course so much, I decided to stay to complete an MA in Nineteeth Century Literature and Culture.”      

Why did you decide to start up a business? What was your inspiration?

“I have always been involved in music, having had a keyboard and guitar lessons from an early age and having performed in bands throughout the years. I then started writing for a music review website back in 2018 through which I became aware of the music marketing industry. Having gained experience with a marketing placement in the second year of my undergraduate degree, as well as experience outside of University, I decided to go for it by myself. Being a musician, I have a greater understanding of what it is like to be in a band trying to release music. To be able to help other musicians in the same position is very important to me.”

What is your business name? Can you tell us what you do?

“Deviate PR specialises in the online promotion of music belonging to the alternative, rock and metal subcultures. This involves PR campaigns, social media management and other writing services.”

Why did you take part in the Venture Programme?

“I wanted to learn about the process of setting up and running a business to see if my business idea would be feasible. Also having little knowledge of business, to be able to gain this knowledge for free from industry experts was an opportunity that I felt I couldn’t afford to miss.”

How did the Venture Programme help you?

“The programme helped me in a number of ways. It greatly boosted my confidence in myself and in my business idea. The feedback and support I received validated my idea and showed me that it was worth striving for. The programme also helped me financially and provided valuable tools to help with setting it up. I was fortunate enough to win one of the ‘two minute pitch’ competitions at a Venture Network early in the academic year. I then went on to win a website design, business advice and financial support in the Venture Pitch 2019.”

What happened after your Venture experience? What would you consider to be your biggest achievement in business?

“Following my Venture experience, I began setting up everything I would need in order to launch my business whilst continuing with my MA studies. At the time of writing this, I have not yet launched, and I am sure that my biggest achievement is yet to come. However, taking the steps to prepare for launch is no mean feat and I’m proud that I have the confidence to go forth with my business venture.”

Do you have any advice to offer to anyone else considering Venture or starting up in business?

“I highly recommend taking part in the Venture Programme, even if you do not have a business idea at present. You will gain so much knowledge and it will help you to realise the career possibilities that are out there. My advice for starting in business is to go for it. I think it is far better to try starting your own business, even if it does not succeed as you may have hoped, than to not try at all and wonder ‘what if?’.”

You can find out more about The Venture Programme and how our Careers and Employability team support our students on our website.


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