My study abroad story

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By Megan Gosling, Business Management with Marketing student at UWE Bristol.

As part of my degree, I made the decision to take a study year abroad rather than a work placement and this is certainly a decision I don’t regret. Surprisingly, I got accepted to my first choice which was the Berlin School of Economics and Law. Looking back after such a turbulent year it’s hard to remember how it felt to arrive in a new city all by myself but I definitely had some experiences that will stay with me for a very long time.

Arriving for the induction day felt like starting 1st year all over again crossed with being on holiday and I was meeting people from all over the world which was exciting and truly one of the most unique days of my life. Following this came many welcome activities organised by the University and these were the perfect way to get to know other students and the city; things such as brewery tours, football games, bar crawls and history tours. If you like beer and modern history I really recommend considering Berlin, not to mention the nightlife which really was beyond anything I have seen before. The clubs were open all night and in some cases, all weekend. There was so much vibrance and edge to the city as well as expansive forests and lakes and to be able to see it all with such ease and cheap accessibility and to call it home was one of my favourite bits.

Of course, as cliché as it sounds, the most special experience for me was the people that I met in Berlin. I really made some friends for life, no matter how far apart we are. With these people I had the opportunity to explore other parts of Germany and Europe. I visited the Christmas Market in Leipzig, the beautiful city of Krakow, the sketchy neighbourhoods of Hamburg and more. Of course certain events thwarted my plans for more travel, but this didn’t stop me having an unforgettable year.

Naturally, it’s not all fun and games and there is a lot of administrative work that goes into a study year abroad both before and after you arrive; especially in Europe and even more especially in Germany. In fact, the bureaucracy was probably the biggest culture shock for me at the beginning. However, as long as you remember to get the right people to sign the right documents, both UWE and your host institution will handle the rest.

Although the study year abroad is all about you discovering things for yourself, there are definitely three tips that I would give to those considering making the move; things that certainly would have made my life easier at the beginning too. The first surrounds accommodation. This will vary country to country but if you’re not going to get accommodation through your university, find alternatives well in advance. Whether this is private student accommodation, private rentals or finding housemates, it’s really best to do your research a few months before you move so you have something solid when you arrive.

The first few days are stressful enough as you find your feet at university and it will make your life so much easier if you don’t have to move from Airbnb to Airbnb with all of your possessions. My second tip would be to take full advantage of your location if you can. I can only speak about Europe but there’s so many buses and trains to take for very reasonable prices. Of course it is important to attend university and to complete your SYA project as this will really help you for final year, but also don’t miss opportunities to see more of the world around you while you are there.

My final and most important tip would be, don’t be afraid to be the first to speak to people. This can be daunting if you’re not naturally extroverted. You may feel like everyone else knows each other but in reality, most people around you will be in the same boat. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to people and ask them if they want to explore the city or have pre-drinks etc. I know I found it quite difficult initially moving from a city where I had a strong group of friends to a place far away where I really knew no one. Had I had more confidence at the beginning I think it would have really prevented some of my early struggles and enriched my experience. So, don’t be shy, and you’ll meet some great people.

Not only did I have an amazing year learning and exploring, but I continue to feel the benefits that the study year abroad has brought to my life. Firstly, my confidence has grown immeasurably. Throughout the year I found myself being pushed out of my comfort zone quite a lot but in such a positive way and now I feel like nothing scares me anymore, especially when it comes to giving presentations and talking to strangers. As well as confidence, my independence and perseverance have really grown. Going from living with my parents to then moving to university I feel like I always had my hand held, however moving into a place on my own in a country with a different language (which I couldn’t really speak) forced me to figure things out for myself, make more of my own decisions and just have much more responsibility for myself, which I know I’ll need when I graduate.

Furthermore, from living in such an international environment and having the opportunity to study courses such as intercultural communications I feel like my eyes have really been opened to the world and the people around me. I have so much more knowledge about and understanding for others from all walks of life. Although a study year abroad isn’t “work experience” I wouldn’t let that put you off.

Confidence, perseverance and cultural competence and understanding are some of the most important skills you can acquire both for life and career-wise and I certainly don’t think I would have gained these had I not taken this opportunity. I wouldn’t change my experience for the world and I can only recommend this adventure.

To find out more about studying abroad with UWE Bristol, visit our website.

Team Entrepreneurship students tackle Global Business Challenges

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A group of 13 students on the BA (Business) Team Entrepreneurship programme at Bristol Business School have been selected to take part in the Global Business Challenge, a three-month experiential learning opportunity focused on solving real challenges for real businesses. Throughout the three-month programme, students will be working in cross-cultural teams with fellow entrepreneurial students from four different countries – the UK, Ecuador, the USA and Finland.

The Global Business Challenge has been co-created by six universities: UWE Team Academy, Aston Team Academy and Team Entrepreneurship at Bishop Grosseteste University in the UK; the University of Holy Spirit Specialties in Ecuador; Southern New Hampshire University in the United States and Proakatemia within Tampere University of Applied Sciences in Finland, the birthplace of the Team Academy methodology on which UWE Bristol’s Team Entrepreneurship programme is based.

Staff from across the six universities, which include Team Coaches and other academic staff specialising in entrepreneurship, have collaborated to provide a unique learning opportunity for their students, adopting the self-directed, team-based, experiential learning approach that is core to Team Academy degree programmes. Staff are supporting the learning of their students by taking on the role of Team Coach for one of the 10 cross-cultural teams that have been created.

The student teams meet virtually on a weekly basis to collectively ideate and problem solve around a specific business challenge from one of the five international businesses that are partners for the Global Business Challenge: the UK’s team profile company Belbin, First Republic Bank from the USA, business incubator ASAP Business in Ecuador, Canadian organic production supplier Organic4Greens and global translation and localisation specialists Lionbridge.

At the end of the programme the teams will present their solutions to their partner business, receiving invaluable feedback from the business professionals and identifying future opportunities to continue working together. The Global Business Challenge offers UWE Team Entrepreneurship students a unique opportunity to form meaningful connections with fellow students and business professionals on a global scale. This is the first international collaborative business challenge of this kind that has been established between the partner universities and the team of staff behind the programme are hosting regular virtual meetings to discuss further opportunities.

Within UWE Team Academy, the Global Business Challenge has been supported by Team Coaches Lauren Davies and Valtteri Melkko who are each coaching an international team, in addition to continuing to coach their own Team Company within the UWE Team Entrepreneurship programme. The Global Business Challenge is one of the many opportunities for UWE Team Entrepreneurship students to “learn by doing” and Valtteri and Lauren have been encouraging students to grasp this and the many other opportunities offered by the programme and beyond. Valtteri commented:

“It’s amazing to see how much growth and excitement it’s possible to see in our students when they are put to work in an international team in a challenge that is longer than a few days or weeks – they are full of energy.”

Valtteri Melkko

Reflecting on her experience of the Global Business Challenge so far, second-year Team Entrepreneurship student Natalie English said:

“Being part of the Global Business Challenge has allowed me to explore a new international team environment, a business challenge and working in an online space – all in one. Obviously, this hasn’t come without challenges, but having a coach means we are able to talk about these challenges in a safe environment. However, the most exciting elements for me so far have been putting my UWE course into practice and getting to see how those techniques are invaluable in any teamwork environment. Working with a real business, with a real challenge has opened my eyes to all the possibilities there are out there, as well as getting to network internationally!”

Natalie English

Case study: Thet Naing Oo, BA(Hons) Business Management (top-up)

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I always wanted to study in the UK, and with the support of an agent here in Myanmar and from speaking to other students I made the decision to join UWE Bristol. I chose the Business Management top-up degree, as I had already completed two years in a different discipline in the UK, but after some reflection chose to focus on building my knowledge and skills in the area of Business.  

From virtual to reality  

I really enjoyed the practical element of the course, in particular the airline simulation where we had to work in small groups and run a business. It was brilliant, and I felt like I was running a real firm. It was a great experience that allowed me to look into the different operational aspects such as marketing and finance (profit, loss etc). Each week we would come together and reflect on how we could improve. There was friendly competition amongst the different groups in the class which encouraged us to make our business the most successful.  

“The practical nature of the top-up gave me the confidence to set up my own business. And I’m currently running an Education Consultancy – supporting students from Myanmar to come and study in the UK” 

The future is bright  

I had always thought about setting-up my own business, and on my return to Myanmar I took the time to think through what I loved and what I know and started to develop some business ideas.  

I created Unigo Education Consultancy as a way to help the younger generation realise their potential and strive to study a degree overseas and greatly increase their career prospects. It’s a great way for me to share my experiences of studying in the UK and to help them navigate their way through the education system.  

“Studying on the top-up degree was a great experience as I got to work alongside students and academics from all around the world.” 

UWE Bristol launches The Bristol Distinguished Address Autumn 2020 Series

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The Bristol Distinguished Address Series (BDAS) provides a unique opportunity to hear about challenges and decisions being made at the highest level of strategic leadership by high-profile business executives from across the country and is back for Autumn 2020. Normally, the lectures are held at Bristol Business School, however, we are now running an online version of the talks.

Upcoming Bristol Lectures

The Virtual Annual Bolland Lecture 2020: NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol Panel Discussion

14 October 2020

The Nightingales are part of a nationwide effort to respond to the greatest global health emergency in more than a century. The temporary hospital at the Exhibition and Conference Centre on UWE Bristol’s Frenchay campus was vital to help support NHS efforts with the COVID-19 pandemic and support the local community and wider region at an exceptionally challenging time.

NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol was a truly collaborative project across a wide range of organisations and companies. Completed in just 20 days, the build of the 300-bed hospital demonstrated incredible team effort and the speed at which the hospital was been built is testament to the dedication, hard work, and teamwork from UWE Bristol staff, the Army, the NHS and the contractors, Kier. Collaboration was key with all stakeholders uniting and working together, safely, swiftly and with absolute skill and commitment. The agile response from all involved – with teams working 12 hours a day – was central to the construction project being complete in such a short time.

We are delighted to host a panel discussion focusing on the construction of the NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol, panel members include:

  • Professor Steve West CBE, Vice-Chancellor, President and Chief Executive Officer
  • Marie-Noelle Orzel, Chief Officer, NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol
  • Tim Whittlestone, Chief Medical Officer, NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol
  • David Snell, Operations Director, Kier

Virtual Bristol Distinguished Address: Doug Perkins, Chair and Founder and Dame Mary Perkins, Co-founder, Specsavers

04 November 2020

Doug and Dame Mary Perkins founded Specsavers with the aim of offering affordable eye care to everyone. They will talk about how they saw the opportunity to revolutionise the optical market, following a relaxation of UK regulations, which allowed opticians to advertise products and services for the first time.

Specsavers is not built on a stock exchange model but rather on a unique joint venture partnership, where directors part-own and manage their own stores. Theirs is a values-led approach to business, which has led to a world-wide organisation that turns over 3 billion a year, operating in 10 countries and employing 35,000 colleagues.

Doug and Dame Mary met in Cardiff while studying optometry at university. After graduating they bought Mary’s father’s optometry business in her home town of Bristol, which they built into a successful chain of more than 20 stores across the south west. This provided invaluable experience when they set up Specsavers.

With Mary being Bristol-born and educated and Doug living in Bristol for 15 years (and even playing for Bristol rugby club), they will describe how their business experience in Bristol acted as an extended pilot for the birth of Specsavers and inspired their vision for affordable eyecare and audiology at scale.

After selling their original chain of stores, it took a further three years of worldwide research of partnership and franchises, which were unheard of in the medical sector, to create their unique business model.

Virtual Bristol Distinguished Address: Perminder Mann, CEO, Bonnier Books UK

11 November 2020

Have you ever felt like you needed to conform to fit in? What does aspiration mean to you? Do you have inspiring role models in your life? Perminder Mann, CEO of Bonnier Books UK, a publishing company with sales of over 80million and a regular on the publishing industry power lists, shares an honest account of her path to success. Overcoming personal obstacles and challenging stereotypes head on, Perminder argues how we all must bring our authentic selves to work. As a passionate believer in the power of books and the role the publishing industry must play in our society, Perminder also lays out her manifesto for positive change.

You can discuss all the events on Twitter by using #BristolLectures. We’re running this series online so you can watch from the comfort of your own home. This event will be hosted on Microsoft Teams – you can either view via the web or download the app. To join the event, please follow the link that will be sent in your event reminder a couple of days before the event.

Studying abroad: Renée’s story

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Renée Marston studied at UWE Bristol on the BA(Hons) Business Management with Accounting and Finance course. This blog is about Renée’s experience of studying abroad whilst at UWE Bristol.

I chose to take a year out to study overseas as part of my course. And through the Erasmus+ scheme and UWE Bristol, I attended Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences (JAMK) in Finland.

I have to say that this experience has already enhanced my prospects for the future, both personally and professionally as I was able to take part in a volunteering experience which enabled me to gain international experience within a place of work, whilst also helping others. I was also able to take a language course as part of my studies which employers really value.

Something that was very important to me personally, was that I was also able to significantly increase my confidence and adaptability to a brand-new environment. This has and will continue to help me personally and professionally in the future when applying for graduate roles.

Socially, I took some amazing trips and got involved in different activities. I went to Lapland and saw the Northern Lights. I also joined the University’s dance team. Stepping outside of my comfort zone enabled me to make new friends from countries all around the world.

“This experience has already enhanced my prospects for the future, both personally and professionally”

Top tips for students thinking about study year abroad

The main advice I would give to students wanting to go abroad, particularly to study, is to believe in yourself and believe you can do it. Be bold; get involved and use your time overseas to the fullest.

On a practical level, do your research. Look into things that are important to you about the university and the country. This could be checking out the sports facilities, what food outlets are on campus or the support facilities such as the library. You want to be able to find comfort in the place you will be living in for a significant amount of time.

Don’t miss out

Whatever your decision, do this for yourself and not based on what your friends are doing. None of my friends applied to study abroad and I nearly followed them, even though I knew I wanted to get more information and apply. If I did follow my friends, then I would have never had the experiences that I did.

“Studying abroad has been the best time of my life. Thankyou UWE, JAMK and Erasmus+ for allowing me to have this opportunity of a lifetime.”

UWE Bristol alumni launch new Family Wellbeing app

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Benjamin Draper, Business Management with Economics graduate and William Testeil, International Business graduate, have created an app that makes it fun and simple for families to improve their wellbeing by encouraging them to exercise, eat well and stay mentally active together, and all within their own home if necessary – very pertinent in the current climate and beyond.

The app differentiates from what currently exists in 2 primary ways:

Firstly, it is the first app specifically catered to families, covering all 3 fundamental elements of wellbeing, exercise, nutrition, and mental health.  Within each category is a variety of challenges and activities, appropriate for both children and parents. These range from simple workouts to more innovative challenges with different difficulty levels and time taken to complete them. This range of activities means the app can adapt to a busy family lifestyle and diverse needs. This allows families to easily implement health habits into their routine to achieve their desired health and effortlessly spend more quality time together.

Secondly, the app combines health activities with gamification through an engaging personal avatar that tracks their progress. This enables the family members to visualise the positive impact their healthier lifestyle is having on them, providing a fun and motivation experience to improve wellbeing as a family. Keeping everyone’s character healthy = keeping the family healthy! Additionally, to further motivate each family member, the app also contains a simple and engaging rewards system. Each time you successfully complete a challenge you gain a seed, collect multiple seeds in a row and you can earn a wellbeing flower! The aim is essentially to grow and collect as many wellbeing flowers as possible while enhancing your own health and happiness.

As we all know having a healthy family unit is incredibly important. When a family spends more time together and keeps a healthy routine, they tend to be much happier.

Benjamin and William say that “while there are a significant amount of health and fitness resources to help individuals, we have recognised a lack of solutions and support available to families. The current lack of solutions to this problem can result in children becoming disinterested to engage in healthy activities, and with parents having numerous responsibilities and limited time, it can be a challenge to implement essential health habits into a family routine.”  

From this realisation, they believed it was time to fill this gap in the market and provide the tool families deserve to help them stay healthy and happy.

After a full year of extensive market research, they have been able to gain invaluable insights from talking directly with children and parents. “Through this customer-centric research approach, we built numerous prototypes, to test our assumptions and allow families to give us feedback to develop a compelling concept. In turn, the combination of our passion for health, helping others and our research has led us to leveraging modern technology to provide this simple and engaging mobile application with one objective in mind – help children and parents collectively achieve their desired health in a fun and convenient way.”

The app has had very encouraging feedback from both children and parents:

Parent’s feedback;

“This is a great idea and would have been amazing when my kids were younger. I searched for similar at the time and never found anything like this”

“I love this idea, my girl is 6 and she loves anything that may be a challenge!”

“Translating the health of the app-user into a facial expression is a great way to motivate the user to care for themselves”

“I really like the selection of challenges. Cleaning or climbing upstairs is something you do every day without realising the benefits”

Children’s feedback;

“I think it is really cool to take care of your own character, and it has definitely motivated me to be healthier”

“This makes improving my health fun and not so boring sometimes!”

“Downloaded the app 15 minutes ago, we have completed something out of each category. I think the workout 1 is the most I’ve been able to happily get my 5-year-old to move during lockdown. Also the food lucky dip he has just happily eaten an apple. He’s already asking what else we can do next. Really enjoying it so far. “Yep I’m enjoying it” – George 5 years”

What was your biggest challenge?

“One of the biggest challenges so far has been funding for the project. While we are very driven individuals, we have only recently graduated university and lacked the start-up capital we needed for this amazing project. That is why we set up our Kickstarter campaign, to present our idea to the public and get people as excited about it as we are. Fortunately, the campaign got amazing support and we achieved 115% of our funding goal.”

“Another challenge we face concerns choosing features to include in the app to further its development. We want to make sure we are providing families with exactly what they need and want to achieve their wellbeing goals, so making sure the correct features are included is very important to us. While we have conducted extensive research on this, there is still room for more improvement by testing not just what features will be included but also how they are integrated to provide families with maximum value.”

How does it feel to have launched the app and secured funding?

“We were completely blown away by the community involvement in our app, as well as the belief in us and this project. Securing 115% of our funding goal was amazing and we did not take it lightly!”

“Since then, we have worked very hard to create something that truly helps families and that we would be proud of. To have all this hard work come to fruition and get the reactions we have already had from parents and children feels amazing. It is a very fulfilling feeling to see and be told by your own customers about the positive impact that we are making on their lives.”

“One of the most exciting things for us is that we are only at the very beginning of this exciting journey and we are only going to improve what we provide from here. We cannot wait to introduce the app to more and more families to help them achieve the health and happiness they have always wanted.”

What are your hopes for the future?

“Our ambition is to be the go-to, trusted platform, families can easily access to effectively improve their health in an enjoyable way. Offering a simple solution to a large problem.”

“We also hope to create partnerships with schools, as well as local gyms, to reach and positively impact tens of thousands of families on a global scale. On a personal level, we cannot wait to continue positively impacting families lives and get more people healthier and happier. At the moment we are only able to work on this part time so getting funding to enable us to have this as our full-time work would be amazing. These are our goals over the next 12 months.”

Find out more on the family wellbeing website.

Challenging male dominance through the substantive representation of women: the case of an online women’s mentoring platform

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A new research article that analyses ‘alta‘ an online mentoring platform for women in aviation has been published by Susan Durbin, Professor in Human Resource Management at UWE Bristol, Stella Warren, Research Associate in the Bristol Leadership and Change Centre at UWE Bristol and Ana Lopes, Lecturer in Human Resource Management at Newcastle University (UK).

Susan Durbin is also a board member of the European Sociological Association’s Research Network 14, Gender Relations in the Labour Market and the Welfare State. Her research fields are women working in male dominated professions and gendered careers.

Stella Warren has a background in applied social research. Her research topics include social marketing and the understanding of psychological pathways for behaviour change in health; gender and inequality in organisations; the gender pay gap; and women working in male-dominated industries.

This article analyses the design of an online mentoring platform—for women by women—in a high‐technology, male‐dominated UK industry: aviation and aerospace. Based on interviews with professionals and managers, they analyse the journey of the women involved and contribute to the understanding of the role of women (individually and collectively) in challenging gendered norms in a male‐dominated industry through the theoretical lenses of ‘critical actors’ and ‘critical mass’. They combine these concepts, usually seen as mutually exclusive, to explain the success of the online platform. This shows how a small number of self‐selected critical actors represented, listened and responded to the needs of the women in their industry, thus achieving the substantive representation of women. They also argue that while critical actors were key to its inception, the mentoring platform now needs a critical mass of women to ensure its success. You can read the article in full online.

Find out more about alta in their recent case study about the importance of mentoring platforms, especially relating to the corona-virus pandemic. Stella Warren also took part in our Future Impact Webinar series to talk about supporting women in male-dominated industries which you can listen back to online.

Case study: Jerry Barnor, BA(Hons) Banking and Finance

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Jerry Barnor is a final year BA Banking and Finance student studying at UWE Bristol.

I always knew I would study Finance at University, it’s something that I’ve always been interested in. I would regularly follow the financial news and read articles about inflation and interest rates and how this affected the economy. It was fascinating to me even though at that time, I didn’t fully comprehend what it all meant.

As I’ve progressed through my course this has all fallen into place and I have a much deeper understanding of the subject matter. I still continue to follow the financial news the difference now is that it makes complete sense to me.

Friends, finance and facilities

My time here at UWE has been really good – I’m close with all my classmates and the teaching and staff have been great. Very different from what I was used to previously (at college). There’s a good mix of lectures which focus on both theory and practical application. I’ve been involved in debates and presented both individually and as part of a group. This was something I had never done before. I’ve also been involved in reflective essays critiquing my work to understand how this could be improved.

“I’ve made some very good friends both in and out of class and I’ve taken advantage of the facilities such as the Bloomberg Trading Room. The data you have access to is incredible and has been valuable to support my studies, in particular with writing my dissertation.”

From Bristol to Barcelona

The great thing about UWE is there’s always something going on. And I had heard about an event called Go Global. Go Global is an opportunity for students to work on a short-term internship in a different country.

There was a position at a tech firm in Barcelona which I applied for and got the job! The firm specialised in gaming which is something I know about (being an avid gamer myself).

The placement was over two months in the summer and through Go Global and Erasmus I was given a bursary of £1,500 which helped finance my flights and accommodation.

The role was quite varied, I was working in the marketing department supporting recruitment of new clients. This involved writing emails and setting-up meetings. I was also lucky enough to attend some of these meetings and present to prospective clients. I would create estimates, getting the balance of each pricing model depending on the needs of each client, which was a great way of bringing my financial knowledge to the role.

Being in a working environment you learn so much. I feel I had a good grasp of different software (Word, Excel etc), but using this in a real scenario was very different! I feel like I’ve learnt a lot.

“Taking part in the Go Global scheme was such a fantastic experience and I made new friends who I’m still in touch with now.”

Team Entrepreneurship case study: Anton Bailey and Invicta Audio

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We have spoken to several Team Entrepreneurship students and recent graduates who own start-up businesses about their experiences during the coronavirus pandemic. This case study is from Anton Bailey, founder of Invicta Audio.

I have always had a passion for learning by doing rather than learning through academic studying, and team entrepreneurship gave me the chance to do that whilst gaining a degree at the same time. I’m currently a 2nd year student at UWE Bristol.

Invicta Audio

My business is called Invicta Audio, previously Invicta prior to Covid–19. I set up Invicta in March 2019 as an events company as I had a huge passion for events and Bristol nightlife. I was also an aspiring DJ trying to find my way into the highly competitive music scene, working for Blue Mountain club and Lakota on several projects. This helped the brand to gain a more regular and loyal following. We also put together a fresher’s event at Blue Mountain club with another member of the team entrepreneurship course. The event was a huge success and was amazing for both of our brands, helping us to grow within the Bristol music industry.

The impact COVID-19 has had on how I run my business

Before lockdown, I had been organising a mental health fundraiser event and also another show for the end of summer. Unfortunately, both events have been cancelled due to covid-19, which was a bit of a knock down. However, I then had the idea of starting a label as it had been something I had thought about before. I decided to diversify my business into Invicta Audio, making it a label and events company.

I came up with the idea of doing a massive launch project and with free time at hand it gave me the chance to sort everything out. I hired one of my close friends, a label manager, to help me out with the launch. I came up with idea of the launch LP, which is a 19 track LP where you download the tracks for free and in return the downloader subscribes to our social media channels and SoundCloud.

I used my social media marketing skills learnt from running events to promote this launch LP. It ended up doing so much better than I could’ve ever imagined. We gained over 1.5k SoundCloud followers in under a month and are currently at 1.7k followers and it’s growing every day.

We have now managed to create a platform where we can sell music to our followers and when events come back we now have a wider consumer base to sell our events to. We are now releasing music frequently on our SoundCloud and I’m currently working on new projects to help grow our business even further and will hopefully be able to throw a huge event for our new consumers after lockdown is fully lifted.

What I’ve learnt

During this time, I have learnt so much! I have learnt about how to run a label and what goes into the release of music behind the scenes that you never would’ve realised before. I have also developed my skills with social media marketing and will definitely be using those skills with my events when they’re back on. I have also learnt that just because we are in lockdown it doesn’t mean your business has to stop or you can’t start a new venture which isn’t affected by covid-19.

If it hadn’t been for covid-19, I probably wouldn’t have started this label as I didn’t have the time, and my brand definitely wouldn’t have grown the way it did. I know it’s very cliché, but I have learnt not to keep all my eggs in one basket!

How I’m feeling about the future of our business

I am feeling very positive about the future of Invicta Audio – the launch LP was just the start of many projects. I also want to further expand the business into a booking agency – keep your eyes open! I’m hoping we can continue to provide quality music and events for all of our consumers and I will do my very best to make this happen alongside finishing my degree. My dream one day is to be involved with putting on a festival.

Check out the Invicta Audio SoundCloud.

Team Entrepreneurship case study: Abbie and Organiko

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We have spoken to several Team Entrepreneurship students and recent graduates who own start-up businesses about their experiences during the coronavirus pandemic. This case study is from Abbie Lifton, founder of Organiko.

I am young entrepreneur currently in my first year of the UWE Business (Team Entrepreneurship) Program. I am also the founder of a vibrant start-up, Organiko.

From a very young age I have always wanted to run my own business. Having joined the program in September I quickly realised this course would be my opportunity to begin creating my first business venture, Organiko.

Organiko

Organiko, is a start-up currently providing high-quality, eco-friendly, organic cotton t-shirts personalised with our unique logo or leaf icon. Our future aim is to provide eco-friendly loungewear and activewear to a diverse audience. The business formed from my passion to find affordable and accessible sustainable clothing, in particular sportswear, which can biodegrade or be reused when such items are no longer needed.

The impact COVID-19 has had on how I run my business

COVID-19 has had a huge effect on Organiko and has led us to have to make dramatic changes to our business model. Initially, we were going to sell on market stalls as it was a cost effective, efficient method of selling but also, allowed for direct face-to-face feedback from our consumer. However, government restrictions meant taking such approach was not possible at this time. As a business, we have had to adapt and change and are currently in process of developing a website to enable ourselves to sell online and reach a wider market.

An advantage of COVID-19 on Organiko, is that it has allowed the launch to happen much quicker than initially expected. Being in lockdown has meant I have been able to focus on planning and completing the initial steps of development which has allowed for the launch to happen much sooner. Obviously, developing the website alone has taken longer than expected however, we do expect to launch in the next few weeks.

What I’ve learnt

Before COVID-19, my knowledge of how to develop a website and construct a successful social media page was minimal. However, this lockdown has allowed myself to begin exploring such areas and learn from the challenges I faced. Lockdown has not only enabled me to launch my business on social media but has also allowed me to understand the benefits of being able to sell online. Both are experiences which I wouldn’t have considered this early on if I had followed my initial plan.

From this experience I have discovered the importance of being able to adapt within business. This isn’t necessarily diverting completely from plan A to plan B , it’s about being able to take a different approach when things haven’t gone to plan. For Organiko, this involved turning to trade online rather than trade via market stalls. Personally, I saw this as being a diversion from the original plan rather than a dismissal of the market stall option.

The final lesson learnt, is to be resilient no matter what. Even though I am still within the early stages of development, there have been multiple occasions where by I could have given up. However, having known I have already invested money and time into this project I am not willing to give up easily. For me, it’s about failing efficiently and having tried all avenues before I give up. At the end of the day, an entrepreneur’s mistakes allow for lessons to be learnt and ultimately, the business to succeed from them. Being resilient through these failures gives the progression for both myself and others to succeed.

How I’m feeling about the future of our business

I am feeling positive about the future for Organiko. The market is expanding as consumers are becoming aware of the impact waste within the fashion industry is having on our environment. In particular, as the younger generation are becoming aware of the global issue, the need for sustainable clothing will increase. Obviously, there is a worry that consumer spending has been impacted by the current situation. However, I do believe that I have a unique product which addresses the evolving environmental issue, currently present within the media, that consumers will only want to invest in.

Visit Organiko’s Instagram here and Facebook here.