How UWE Bristol helped us turn an idea into a business

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By Andy, BA(Hons) Business (Team Entrepreneurship)

UWE Bristol graduate, Andy, tells us about his choice to study the BA(Hons) Business (Team Entrepreneurship) course here at UWE Bristol, and how the course enabled him and his business partner Guy to start their own business; Target Student.

Why UWE Bristol?

The decision to come to UWE Bristol was an easy one for us both – when researching the course, we both felt it was describing us directly, listing our ambitions and career goals. I’m originally from Bristol so had admired the University before this, but the course information sealed the deal.

The vocational business management degree was one of the first of its kind, which made the decision all the easier for us both. The unique course delivery was fantastic, enabling us to learn from the experiences of others. This was combined with a blend of academic study and students running businesses supported by the UWE Enterprise Zone.

The course

The course delivered exactly what we were looking for; it allowed us to learn, implement, reflect, and assess the impact on real business ideas and decisions, instead of just writing about them hypothetically. The highlight for us was the hands-on nature and practical elements, which gave us the confidence and know-how to get our business up and running.

But it wasn’t the teaching alone that made our degree so special. The facilities at UWE Bristol were modern and tailored to individual needs. For our course, there was a dedicated team office space, which was a vital factor in establishing an entrepreneurial community.

“The lecturers were world-class too. Our course leader was a successful academic with an enterprising attitude. She had a thorough understanding of the spaces we’d be using, so was the perfect person to trailblaze the course.”

We also gained soft skills on the course, like patience, understanding, the ability to give and receive feedback from our peers, and a growth mindset that we both rely on to this day. And we each gained something students don’t often get from a degree – a business partner.

Starting our business

Joining UWE Bristol was the catalyst for us starting our own business – something Guy and I had often dreamed about before enrolling. We met on our course and began developing a successful working relationship that benefited from our balanced attributes and complementary skills. I’m often impulsive and excited about most decisions, while Guy is more measured and takes a step back to assess everything. Guy is good with numbers, while I’m more process driven. This combination of traits proved to be a recipe for success. Many of the philosophies and processes we practised during our degree now form the basis of our work, and we’re always looking for ways to improve.

We began developing our idea in our second year and secured a summer internship through the UWE Enterprise Zone, which helped us to start our business, Target Student. Our business focuses on changing the way the world engages with students at home, giving everyone the opportunity to connect with them all year-round through a responsible platform. We do this by supplying, managing and maintaining digital signage networks specifically for university accommodation providers across the UK, connecting students with the brands they love.

UWE Bristol gave us the tools we needed to get started. Even the city of Bristol helped us out; as a rebellious city with a thriving independent culture, it helped us build our first customer base.

“We’re both immensely proud to be UWE Bristol alumni, particularly on a course that gave us the skills and knowledge we needed to start a business with success and inspired us to dream big.”

Our next dream – seeing our names on the alumni board in the Bristol Business School.

How a unique learning opportunity at UWE Bristol offered me a career-changing experience.

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By Kate, BA(Hons) Filmmaking

UWE Bristol undergraduate, Kate, tells us how a unique learning opportunity gave her the chance to try out new skills, which has inspired her to consider new career options. Read more about Kate’s story.

“When I first heard about the Glenside major incident exercise from our teaching team, I knew I wanted to be involved. After all, this was one of most ambitious simulation exercises ever hosted at UWE Bristol. It took nine months to organise and involved 500+ people, so what a great opportunity to film this experience.

What was the Glenside major incident exercise?

The University wanted to bring learning to life by simulating a commercial airliner disaster for a major incident training exercise for students at Glenside Campus. They created this using a section of a Boeing 747 aircraft and staged a crash site wreckage in a field on campus. Staff set dressed it to look like the plane had just crashed. Some people played the part of injured passengers alongside dummies with cards around necks detailing the injuries sustained.

It was amazing how many students benefited from this exercise. Healthcare students from Adult Nursing, Paramedic Science and Physician Associate courses got the chance to test their skills in an emergency situation. Drama students played various roles alongside professional actors, and of course Filmmaking students, like myself, were there to gain experience behind the camera.

What was your role on the day?

As a Filmmaking student, I was in the centre of the action to follow the story from start to end. They announced the plane had crashed and then more and more people appeared on the scene. People were screaming and covered in fake wounds created by special effects make up. I filmed the students triaging and treating the casualties at the scene and then sending them off by ambulance to a simulated major trauma centre.

It all felt like it was really happening, and as the simulation was so well staged it was a great chance to see how you cope in a stress situation, especially for the healthcare students acting as first responders.

What did you gain from the experience?

I was excited to be involved in the simulation as I’m keen to get into camera work, and this gave me a chance to practise new skills without it being an assessed module. This was great as I didn’t feel any pressure on being graded. 

The filming experience was very different to the filming I do on my course. Everything on the course is normally very planned, so this was something completely different. You felt like you were being thrown into this crisis situation and I had to trust my filmmaking instincts worked under pressure. I had to think on my feet and decide what should be covered and how to get the best coverage of the situation when interviewing people telling their story through film. 

The simulation was such a great exercise. It offered a really unique learning opportunity for students across many courses to put their skills into practice. Having previously shied away from camera work, believing my strengths were in directing and producing, this was my chance to try it out. And the great thing is having had this chance, I can now really see myself moving more in to camera work. Without this experience, I could have missed out on this career-changing opportunity.”

How progressing to postgraduate study is helping Laura to invest in her future.

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By Laura, BSc(Hons) Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science and MSc Science Communication student.

Our student, Laura, tells us why she decided to stay at UWE Bristol to study for a master’s after graduating from her undergraduate degree. She shares the benefits of postgraduate study and how UWE Bristol is preparing her for a career in science communication. Keep reading to find out more about Laura’s story.

Continue reading “How progressing to postgraduate study is helping Laura to invest in her future.”

How the opportunities at UWE Bristol have helped Kirsty to get a Women in Engineering scholarship.

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By Kirsty, Mechanical Engineering student.

Our final year student, Kirsty, tells us about studying Mechanical Engineering at UWE Bristol. She also shares her experience of her engineering placement year and how she achieved a space in Santander’s Women in Engineering Scholarship Programme.

Continue reading “How the opportunities at UWE Bristol have helped Kirsty to get a Women in Engineering scholarship.”

How working with the Mayor of Bristol gave me a great insight into the world of politics.

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by Mamadou, BA(Hons) Politics and International Relations.

Politics and International Relations student Mamadou shares his experience of mentoring and internship, gained through the UWE Equity Programme. Hear how he got to work with the Mayor of Bristol, what he discovered about himself and the opportunities it has opened up for his future career.

Continue reading “How working with the Mayor of Bristol gave me a great insight into the world of politics.”

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