A fashion brand, marketing business and boxing community interest company are among businesses which Teesside University has helped to launch this year.
This week is Global Entrepreneurship Week (November 14 to 20) and Teesside University is committed to developing an entrepreneurial culture and developing the skills, behaviours, and confidence to fuel enterprise.
The University’s seven-week FUEL programme helps aspiring entrepreneurs bring their innovative business ideas to fruition by offering expert mentoring, business-building workshops and training sessions.
The programme culminates in a pitch, where participants have the opportunity to compete for a share of £30,000 funding to kickstart their businesses.
This year’s winners of the FUEL programme include:
- DEY Studios
- The School of Illustration
- Knock Out Depression
- Proper Mint Marketing Ltd
- Candy Castle Animation
- Movie Night Ltd
- Smoggy Pictures Ltd
Among the winners is Emily Dey, a successful Teesside University fashion graduate who, since completing her studies in 2020, has embarked on a prestigious Modern Artisan project and jointly created a luxury fashion collection inspired by King Charles’ much-loved Highgrove Gardens.
The 24-year-old from Middlesbrough has gone on to set up her own fashion design brand, which she launched through the University’s FUEL programme.
Emily said: “DEY Studios is an independent, British slow fashion brand, designed and founded by me, with the aim of reducing throwaway, fast fashion and creating timeless, luxury garments that will last in your wardrobe forever.
“The FUEL programme has been imperative to helping me launch DEY Studios. I didn’t have much experience at all around how running a business works and so the programme has allowed me to speak to so many knowledgeable people and learn vital lessons that I otherwise wouldn’t have thought about.
“It feels amazing to have secured the funding from the FUEL programme. I now have studio space to work in which I am so excited about as it’s such a great environment to work in. I’m also able to buy all of the equipment I need to run my business properly.”
Matthew Williams, 48, from Middlesbrough, also received funding following a successful pitch for Knock Out Depression, which helps people manage their mental health through boxing.
He said: “Knock Out Depression helps people with depression to feel like themselves again. We are in their corner, supporting them to understand the opponent that is beating them down and to come back punching. Our programmes use the power of boxing as a metaphor for life to help people to better understand and manage their mental health.”
Matthew, who graduated from BSc (Hons) Sport Science in 1997, signed up for the programme to learn what it takes to run a successful business, adding: “When I saw that the FUEL programme was advertising for a new intake, it was a no-brainer for me; I knew it would be hugely beneficial to me and my business.
“The experience has been absolutely invaluable. The range of speakers and the content that was covered was enormously helpful.
“Securing funding was the icing on the cake, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to further develop my business and take it to the next level to help as many people as I can.”
Adam Foster (Proper Mint Marketing Ltd), Cameron Robertson (Movie Night Ltd), Marcus Phoenix (Candy Castle Animation), Nicholas and Frances Moffatt (The School of Illustration), and Miles McQuillin, Reece Foster, James Wilson and Michael Fish (Smoggy Pictures Ltd) also won funding through the FUEL programme.
Steve Dougan, Head of Enterprise at Teesside University, said: “When it comes to business, Teesside University has its finger on the pulse, and is ideally placed to help aspiring entrepreneurs to achieve their potential.
“We have long been committed to fostering an entrepreneurial culture, and we are proud to empower individuals to develop the skills needed to fuel enterprise and build successful businesses through our FUEL programme.”
The next FUEL cohort will be recruited in May 2023 and begin their training the following August, gaining the opportunity to bring their business plans to life with the help of Teesside University.