Students secure funding to set up their own businesses

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Entrepreneurial students and graduates from the University of Chester have been successful in securing start-up funding to set up in business, courtesy of Santander Universities UK, after taking part in an accelerate event.

Accelerate forms part of the University’s Venture programme, which aims to support budding entrepreneurs.

The programme is part of the consortium-led Cheshire and Warrington Business Growth Programme project which, supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), equips students and graduates with the skills and knowledge to start up a business and develop their entrepreneurial capacity under three themes.

Venture gives students the opportunity to create a business idea and collaborate with business professionals to accelerate it into reality.

Accessible to students from all disciplines and levels of study, Venture consists of a unique blend of content from entrepreneurs, industry partners, professional services and mentors to support individuals.

The Accelerate initiative launched in late 2016, offering workshops held weekly over the course of the academic year.

Accelerate is designed to equip students and graduates with the necessary tools to start their business and the programme has welcomed a mix of business owners, mentors, business and industry experts to help prepare participants for start-up.

Prior to the Pitch 2018 event, applicants were asked to submit a 500 word business summary and to create a 60 second video pitch.

The submissions were judged internally, to provide a shortlist of eight businesses.

During the final day, shortlisted participants were invited to pitch for start-up funding and a number of business support prizes.

Judged by John Farrell, Ellis & Co Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers; Mike Skinner, RTC North; Paul Birch, Santander, and Louise Hope, Flashy Photography; participants were asked to deliver a five minute pitch outlining their business idea and model.

Following the pitches, five businesses were successful in receiving cash-funding, courtesy of Santander.

• Yam Kovatch, a final year Photography student, was awarded £1,000 for Yam Kovatch Photography; a fashion and editorial studio-based photography business. Yam was also awarded a £400 Careers and Employability Enterprise Grant and one-to-one Business Coaching.

•           Stephen Noon and Jordan Oddie, final year Business Studies students, were awarded £250 to progress the research and development of NextGym.

• Sarah The Dog Carer, a Biology graduate, was awarded £3,000 to grow her successful Farndon based dog walking business to eventually cover all aspects of dog care including training, grooming and boarding. Sarah was also awarded an £800 Careers and Employability Enterprise Grant, an iPad, a professional photography package and a branded merchandise bundle.

• Emerson Bispo, who is studying for his Master’s in Dance, was awarded £250 for his company, Amazing Performing Arts. Emerson was also awarded a Professional Logo Design.

• Beth Henwood, a final year Geography and International Development Studies student, was awarded £500 for her social enterprise Love Every Day. Beth was also awarded an £800 Careers and Employability Enterprise Grant, an iPad and a 60 second promotional video.

The following awards were also made:

• Pearl Kitcher, a graduate with a Master’s in Public Health Nutrition, was awarded 12 months at the recently opened co-working space, GroSpace, for her business The Diet Maze. Pearl was also awarded a Professional Logo Design.

• Emma Twist, a second year Business Management and International Tourism Management student, was awarded one-to-one Business Coaching and a Professional Logo Design for BossGal.

• Florian Pichlmaier, who is studying a Master’s in Law, was awarded a start-up website and a one-to-one social media diagnostic for Rentspeq.

“Accelerate showcased a tremendous amount of entrepreneurial spirit and talent,” said Kirsty Badrock, Venture programme co-ordinator.

“The dedication and enthusiasm of those who took part was evident and the innovative business ideas sparked real interest with the judges who saw potential in everyone.

“We are incredibly grateful to all of our partners who have contributed to this comprehensive programme of support.”