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.

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