A UNIVERSITY student who hopes toset up an African food shop in Warrington was among a group of 10 students who went on an exciting adventuring combining business workshops with outdoor activities.
Anthony Isiwele was one of the 10 entrepreneurial students from the University of Chester who won a place on this year’s Santander Universities UK five-day Venture Adventure following a highly-competitive application process.
They enjoyed both business sessions and adrenaline sports at the famous mountaineering venue of Plas y Brenin National Outdoor Centre, in the heart of Snowdonia National Park.
The Venture Adventure develops entrepreneurial thought and action, through a memorable mix of interactive talks and activities including kayaking, open boating, stand-up paddle boarding, raft building, indoor and outdoor climbing and abseiling.
The students and their businesses – some of which are already up-and-running – were:
• Liam Boyle – Vincovits – a vitamin supplement manufacturing company.
• Asotah Wisdom – SS Glass and Tiles – converting glass waste into tiles used for walls and flooring purposes.
• Anthony Isiwele – Dew Drops African Mart – an African food shop in Warrington.
• Klaudiusz Trzebuniak – KT Enterprise – high-quality hand-crafted wooden furniture.
• Vijay Manchikanti – VKM Granules PVT LTD – a plastic recycling business, making granules from waste plastic that can be recycled into, for example, kitchen and cosmetics items – reducing single use of plastic.
• Okodi Donatus – Don Fish Farm – fish farming packaging to enable the fish to remain fresh, visible and healthy.
• Niccole Sumler – Amerland’s (a word play on America and England as Niccole is from America) – an Art Centre that incorporates creative writing, music, drawing, and cooking in one place. The mission is to help children and teenagers create their voice and boost their confidence through art.
• Jacob Trainer – My Uni Life UK – a mobile application produced by students for students, to share experiences and support them with student life.
• Jak Jones – Jak Jones Productions – a freelance videography and photography studio.
Student Patrycjusz Szubryt, who is developing Shubrit and Shubrit, a professional consulting business providing a framework for the introduction of successful AI (Artificial Intelligence) during digital process transformations, also won a place and while unable to attend, participated fully in other aspects of the initiative.
An added highlight for each finalist was receiving a signed copy of the first book by acclaimed entrepreneur Steven Bartlett, founder of Social Chain and the youngest Dragon from Dragons’ Den.
Business lecturer Franceska Shollo attended a book signing by the Dragon after bumping into him at a railway station, and thanked him with an Instagram film clip of all the students receiving his book. She was delighted when Steven shared the clip to his extensive audience of followers.
Anthony Isiwele, a Master of Business Administration student from Nigeria, said: “The Venture Adventure was a one-in-a-million opportunity.
He added: “Plas y Brenin was amazing and jaw dropping; it was fun from day one and exciting to pitch my business idea for Dew Drops African Mart, offering all fresh African foods and condiments in Warrington.
“I feel very privileged to have been chosen to take part and learned so much. Thank you to the University of Chester, Santander and everyone who made it an unforgettable experience.”
Dr Connie Hancock, associate professor and Head of the Department of Management at the University of Chester Business School said: “The combined resources of the Business School team of entrepreneurial support specialists and Santander Universities, have provided these student entrepreneurs with a superb opportunity to develop their capacity to innovate and transfer a business idea into a sustainable proposition.
“Our time at Plas y Brenin was filled with learning, challenge and development. This type of student experiential opportunity equips our students with lifelong skills and knowledge.
“The results were outstanding with impressive business plans and skilled pitch decks being delivered towards the end of the five days.
“We’re extremely grateful to everyone at Santander Universities UK; everyone at Plas y Brenin; our colleagues at the Business School, in particular Dr Henry Sidsaph, Franceska Shollo, Sue Benson and Dr Ying Zhao; Laura James-Mowbray from Angels Invest Wales; Gary Hewins for the Belbin Team Roles session; Kirsty Badrock from the fantastic Venture Programme run at the University; Steven Bartlett for signing 10 of his books and AM Clothing for our branded hoodies.”
Matt Hutnell, director, Santander Universities UK, added: “Santander is committed to supporting higher education as well as local communities across the UK. We’re delighted to support students at the University of Chester and enable them to develop their business ideas further.”