The month of January proved successful for 16 DMU graduates who took part in a new scheme to help them learn about starting their own business. We worked together with the DMU Graduate Champions team to deliver a 3 week paid enterprise scheme which would provide graduates with essential information and inspiration in regards to kick-starting their journey into self-employment.
Hosted by Kate Cowan of Spring to Action, the Graduate Champions Enterprise Scheme took place in the Innovation Centre with each day focused on a specific topic. The group covered a wide range of topics from finance and tax to marketing and social media. There were also some guest speakers who shared their start-up journey and expertise to inspire the graduates!
All of the learning across the 3 weeks was all in preparation for their big challenge; to set-up a pop-up shop also known as #dmupopup! The graduates were split into 4 groups and challenged with creating a business with just £50! (For those of you who have already started a business will know, that this wasn’t the easiest task in the world!)
The groups were given a day to come up with their ideas and organise their roles. You could feel the excitement in the room as group by group the light bulbs sparked alive! With the profits from their sales on the day being donated to charity, each group also had to decide on their chosen charity. The finalised ideas for the pop-up shop were:
- #rememberme – Polaroid photo booth to help raise awareness of Alzheimer’s.
- #soakandsense – A range of pamper gift packs which included bath fizz’s, incense sticks and candles.
- #Oldandin – Up cycled vintage clothing, accessories and handmade robots!
- #noplacelike – Handmade home ware and gifts.
With such a limited start-up budget the groups had to be creative with not just their idea but also their marketing! Each group developed their own branding and posters to raise awareness of the shop and what it had to offer. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram was also a definite option for the groups, with it being free! The #rememberme group wrote their own press release which went ahead to be featured in the Leicester Mercury!
After hours of creating their ideas and branding, there was a wonderful buzz when the #dmupopup shop opened in the Wot Space on Shires Lane in Leicester! The stalls were beautifully presented and the products were well thought through. Once the shop opened, the graduates had 5 hours to sell, sell and sell their products to the public and raise some cash for charity!
Their hard work across the 3 weeks and in particular the challenge paid off when they counted up their profits and realized they had raised over £180 for charity! The money was split between their chosen charities which were Macmillan, Alzheimer’s Society and Shelter!
The next step for the graduates is to put their learning into practice and kick start their own ideas. We’re looking forward to seeing where their start-up journey will take them!
If you’re a DMU graduate and would like advice and support about your idea, visit www.dmu.ac.uk/ceo to find out how we can help you!