Pitch2Win 16/17 Finalist – Wren and Wilson

Hi my name is Jen and I am the founder and creative director of my business Wren & Wilson. I make fun, contemporary and original accessories and jewellery inspired by pop culture, nature and cute animals. I love creating and designing for my business as it feel great to be able to take an idea out of my brain and turn it into something tangible that people are excited about and want to buy!

I graduated from De Montfort University in 2013 with a degree in Fine Art and have been running Wren & Wilson for about a year now. I feel ready to take my business to the next step which is why I wanted to take part in DMU’s Pitch2Win.

The application process to take part in Pitch2Win was super quick and easy! It was during a business advice meeting with the Enterprise Team where I signed up and all you have to do is register and write a quick sentence about your business.

The actual presentation was a lot less scary than I thought it was going to be. I’d spent the week before preparing what I was going to say and timed myself talking as you only get three minutes to give the presentation! After the three minutes you get to have a chat with the judges which was great because you have three people completely engaged in what you’re saying and giving their full attention to your ideas and products. It was nice to take my business, which I know so well but is quite personal to me as I work on my own from home, and then take it to three strangers and bare all! It was really nice to see their reactions to my products and gave me some useful feedback.

I would definitely recommend taking part in the competition as the staff are really supportive and helpful and the process of actually giving the presentation and talking solely about your business is incredibly useful.

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Pitch2Win 16/17 Finalist – Student Gift Box

I’m Joshua Solomon co-owner of Student Gift Box, we’re a company that designs and delivers specifically tailored gift hampers to students. The company originally started in 2015 as a lone project via Ed Weston, however, the business was revived in 2016 and transformed into what it is today under a joint effort alongside Kwaku Boateng.

Student Giftbox

Our inspiration was to create a business that really understood students and what we want to arrive at our student doorsteps. We know how strenuous and turbulent student life can be, especially with the advanced independence but not quite knowing what to do with it at times! We wanted to bridge the gap between parents and students, allowing guardians to send tailored parcels with ease, a simple online method, variety, fast delivery and an option of a personalised message.

Pitch2Win has been an overly positive experience for me, the experience was professional and not too overwhelming for a student. The judges were engaging and gave positive reinforcements as I was speaking to help calm my nerves. I would recommend anyone who even ponders ideas regarding entrepreneurship to apply, regardless of how advanced your idea might be, the support you’d receive would help you push on and realise there’s opportunity out there. My tip for anyone starting a business would be to do something you truly believe in and do not chase money. An additional tip about pitching in this competition, be honest, integrity gets you further than Del Boy tactics!

“The world is your lobster”.

Fantastic February for freelancing DMU students!

After 3 months of planning and preparation, Freelance February shot by us in a flash and we’re now in March!

Freelance February was a month long initiative for DMU students and graduates interested in taking the route of self-employment. The month provided a wide range of activities and workshop to help up skill knowledge and prepare students for a self-employment journey.

Over 170 students attended the 18 events throughout February and we were delighted to welcome onto campus small businesses and alumni who shared their expertise in a range of areas including digital marketing, branding, intellectual property, funding plus much more – the list goes on!

The month kicked off with a fantastic session by Fred Brookes at Creative Leicestershire, a local business support service for creatives based within Leicestershire. Fred shared invaluable knowledge with students regarding freelancing and being self-employed.

Jon Foster, Director of creative design agency North Design Studio took students through the basics of branding and how vital your brand is when starting a business.

Midway through the month, we explored funding with Natwest Business Growth Enabler Gareth Howell. Gareth shared the different ways of funding a business with students and gave them an insight into business banking.

Prospect IP shared how to protect the intellectual property within a business idea and  we looked at how networking can be the key to finding freelance work with an interactive session which of course naturally included some networking.

It was great to welcome DMU Alumni Becky Boyd back to campus who delivered two Google Digital Garage sessions for the students, giving them a brief overview on how to get get stuck into digital and reach more customers online. The Google Garage is a free online course which provides lots of information and resources to help your business get savvy with digital.

Every session was a great chance for students to find out more  how to kick start that idea. The month ended with a 2 day boot camp delivered by our friends at the Princes Trust which took 14 students on a journey exploring legal structures, market research, marketing, finance and business plans!

Overall, all 18 events received really positive feedback and was a valuable initiative to all those that attended. We’re so grateful to our external partners who kindly came onto campus to deliver some of these sessions for us and we look forward to working with you again.

For more information about the Enterprise Team and how we can support enterprising DMU students and graduates, please visit our website.