The University of Exeter has some truly fantastic businesses ran by students alongside their degree studies. In my role as the Student Entrepreneur in Residences for the 2012 – 2013 academic year I have had the privilege of seeing some of these fantastic businesses in action! I would like to share with you some of the most successful student businesses that the University of Exeter has seen during my tenure – I think you will be impressed with the passion, time and commitment that these students have put it, it might even inspire you to start your own business at university!
iMended was set up by year third business student’s Ed Latham and Alex Nechoroskovas after Alex accidentally broke his iPhone prompting him to realise that there was a gap in the student market for iPhone repairs. Within the first week that the business started the pair managed to repair over 20 iPhones on campus – seeing the market before them they began to look to expand to other university campuses and are currently undergoing a franchise model rollout with the assistance and support of the Innovation Centre.
Jollies Socks is the idea and business of second year biology student Ed Vickers. Having worked as a volunteer in a homeless shelter during one summer Ed asked the head of the organisation how could he help further while being at university. The head of the shelter said one thing “we need socks!” – surprisingly new socks is one of the key areas homeless need most. Good foot hygiene is essential if you are spending your nights outside, yet the homeless population spends little of their income on clean socks as food, shelter and other life essentials tend to come first.
Consequently, Ed developed a business model similar to the wear a pair, share a pair or ‘one for one’ model demonstrated by shoe company Toms. For every luxury pair of socks sold Jollies Socks would give a second pair away to a homeless person within the UK – even enabling you to pick the region. The concept was an immediate success, securing funding from the University of Exeter in early 2012, with the first sales taking place in December that year. This fantastic product, beautifully packaged and perfect for a present, flew off the shelves as soon as they were lauched – we are expecting big things from Jollies Socks, including two new lines of products so watch out! Don’t forget to buy your pair of Jollies Socks by the link below!
Music Teacher is a second project started by Matthew Rusk to create a national database of active music teachers of all instruments throughout the UK and Ireland. With the success of locational websites like Guitar Lessons Exeter, the first website Matthew launched, Matthew has been keen to create a platform for all music teachers to be able to generate themselves music students. Until recently he has been restricted to only four instruments (guitar, singing, drums and piano) and only within medium to large cities, now this the national database he will be able to work with teachers of all instruments based in anywhere in the UK and beyond!
Whike UK is ran by second year engineer student Ned Aufenast. Having helped develop and pushed the company forward in the UK the extreme sports product, so much more than a recline bicycle with a sail attached, is now selling fantastically across Europe. Testament to both the amazing product and the unbelievable entrepreneurial skills of Ned, Whike is one of the most talked about extreme sports products on the market – something we hope than Ned will take up full time when he graduates!
Born Social, formerly Brand-Social, is a social media management company that formed as an offshoot of The Eleven – an extremely successful company, also ran by a former student of the university, facilitating interactions and understanding between brands and young people. Born Social, ran by social media wizard and current university student Ben Hayes, manages the online social profiles (Facebook, Twitter etc.) of numerous companies and the list is growing! To find out more, click through to their website!
JAT Web Design, ran by internet and technology genius Justin Turner – single handedly the most sort after student from other student businesses with software, website design and technology based queries I have ever met! Justin is certainly the man you want to talk to if you need a website designing, his extremely impressive portfolio only scratches the surface of his skill base. Having developed some extremely impressive software programs – some even used by the university itself – Justin is someone we have extremely high hopes for in the future!
Exeter University Calendars is the business idea of the president of the university’s Entrepreneurs society, Edward Noel. Having seen a opportunity to deliver a product that would remind former students of their fantastic memories of their time at the University of Exeter Edward developed a calendar for 2013 to sell to alumni. Having received the blessing from the alumni network, with 10% of all profits going to the alumni network, the calendars began to fly of the shelves as Christmas 2012 drew in. Revving up for next year’s Christmas rush Edward is looking to expand his operation to other universities in the southwest!
Her Campus Exeter, originally started by three former Harvard students Stephanie Kaplan, Windsor Hanger, and Annie Wang to capture the American female college audience with a glossy magazine type online blog, was brought to the University of Exeter by Georgie Hazell, one of the most passionate female entrepreneurs I have met at the university. Although Her Campus Exeter remains a sub-division of the larger American company and runs as a volunteer based organisation it has an impressive tight knit core of bloggers posting on all subjects from contraception to fashion and everything in between. One of the smoothest and most impressive operations I have seen this year the internal company passion for Her Campus is infectious (after all they are giving up their time for free!) – once again showing that while you might not be able to run a business you certainly can be doing something at university to enhance you employability skills while having fun!
I have fortunate opportunity to work with these great University of Exeter student businesses during my year as Student Entrepreneur in Residence on account of launching a music tuition business while I was a student at the University. Original teaching guitar alongside my history degree studies I started expanding across the UK with similar websites to my own in Exeter, generating guitar and singing enquiries for music teachers across the UK. By the time that I had graduated I had established websites like Guitar Lessons London, London’s leading guitar student generation services for a small group of extremely talented teachers across the capital. Alongside this thriving localised websites like Guitar Lessons Bristol, Guitar Lessons Norwich and Guitar Lessons Peterborough.
I was also able to expand further by starting to work with singing teachers from across the nation, creating websites like Singing Lessons Brighton, Singing Lessons Bournemouth and Singing Lessons Glasgow. In 2014 I launched websites for a third instrument – the piano, creating sites like Piano Lessons Edinbrugh and Piano Lessons Newcastle. The Piano Lessons Cambridge website was a significant personal achievement as my father took piano lessons while living in Cambridge, which in turn inspired me to start playing music (albeit on guitar!) and hence a nice circle there! It was also fantastic to launch drum tuition websites like Drum Lessons Birmingham and Drum Lessons Leeds in recent years as well. To find out more about my business MGR Music Tuition, which was started while as was studying as a student at the University of Exeter simply click through this website!