Two enterprising young women from our Greenwich Campus achieved an amazing feat last week when their business start-up idea won them the highest accolades at a Young Enterprise, ‘Your Horizon’ special event in central London.
Business students Gabriela, 18 from Thamesmead, and Doris, 17 from Surrey Quays walked away from the Old Mutual Wealth Organisation’s HQ with the ‘Your Horizon Journey Award’ and ‘Best Project Manager Award’ after a hugely successful pitch and presentation to a panel of judges.
The two promising entrepreneurs were set a mammoth challenge just three weeks earlier by their tutor Jean Paul. With just ten days to devise an original idea, explore gaps in the market, design and manufacture a product and identify a target market, they stopped at nothing to make their project a great success.
The result was ‘Co Lighter’, an elegant brand of gel wax candles, air fresheners and bottle lights, designed for the more cosmopolitan and sophisticated shopper. The candles come in a range of natural fragrances such as lemon and honey, vanilla essence, cucumber and watermelon, peach nectar and mandarin.
Gabriela said: “This term, we were given a talk by a lady from Young Enterprise; an organisation dedicated to helping young people start their own small businesses. She told us to be realistic, start small and grow, find investors and pitch for start-up grants and assistance. She also gave us lots of advice about writing a successful business plan. From there, Doris and I teamed-up and set to work immediately.
"Jean Paul set us our targets and gave us lots of pointers to how we could go about researching our ideas. Together, we came up with the concept of creating our own brand of candles. Firstly, we needed to know how to make them, how to acquire the materials and figure out how much capital we would need to produce a fist batch. Then, we had to find the cheapest price of material and establish a pricing level.”
Doris said: “We watched a YouTube tutorial on how to make gel wax candles. We discovered a supplier of gel wax in Shepherds Bush who did us a good deal. Once we had everything together, it was time to roll up our sleeves and get working. Each one would take about an hour and we made over 70. On the evening before we were due to set up a stall at Greenwich Market, we were up until 5 am making candles. We were literally ‘burning the candle at both ends’ to make enough stock.
"Gabriella and I spent £150 on materials and packaging and we made over £300 worth of sales. I’d say that was a great start.”
Business Tutor, Jean Paul said: “Although it doesn’t sound like a huge haul, the profits made by Gabriela and Doris was the highest by far out of the five other groups taking part in the programme. Not only that, they were the only level 2 students taking part (all of the others were level 3) in the contest and were the only team to actually manufacture their own products.
"I think they have shown great initiative, discovered exactly what enterprise is all about and how learning entrepreneurship gives you great employability skills and knowledge. Making a profit also gives you a great feeling and spurs you on to achieve higher. Both students will go on to reach much greater heights; of that I’m certain.”
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