CAVC students scoop national prize for entrepreneurs

20 November 2014

CAVC students scoop national prize for entrepreneurs

A team of budding entrepreneurs from Cardiff and Vale College are the most enterprising students in the UK – having crowned winner of Market Maker 2014, triumphing at the national final of the student enterprise competition.

It marks the second time that a team from the College’s Hair, Beauty and Complementary Therapies department has won the UK-wide competition.   The CAVC team came up with Trickle Box - a range of bespoke and popular character kit boxes, featuring all the essential make up and accessories required to create any fancy dress costume. The four Hair and Beauty students who made up the team have won a trip to New York where they will pitch for investment.  

Involving more than 1,300 students in 320 teams from across 16 further education colleges, Market Maker is one of the UK’s largest student enterprise competitions. The competition is organised by the Gazelle Colleges Group and seeks to encourage entrepreneurial opportunities for students and give the students an advantage when it comes to employment opportunities in the future.  

Up and down the country, the teams have been working since September to develop an innovative business idea, fine-tune their business plans, develop a website, produce a promotional video and create an E-Shop to trade their products and services using the state-of-the-art Market Maker platform. The online platform, which was developed by City University of New York, has its own virtual institutions (market place, bank, stock market and credit system) and simulates a real economy, giving the students the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to successfully run a business.  

Each of the 16 individual colleges selected their best team, who were brought together at the Institute of Directors headquarters in London to sell their products and pitch to a panel of judges. The panel, who selected the winners, was comprised of experts from across the IoD network.  

Trickle Box fought off stiff competition from College of North West London’s team Full Capacity and The Charity Wood Working Company from Cambridge Regional College, who came in second and third place respectively. Full Capacity designed a Kinetic Battery Charger which charges a phone with the help of kinetic energy produced when running and The Charity Wood Working Company who design and make wood products and donate the profits to charity.

Reflecting on the experience, Tickle Box’s Chief Executive, 28-year-old Kayleigh Fyfe from Barry said: ‘’This was an absolutely amazing opportunity. The atmosphere at the IoD was incredible. The competition has helped to make my dream come true, it really was an invaluable experience.’’  

The team’s Financial Director Ellie Griffith, who is 19 and also from Barry, added: ‘’My confidence has been boosted immeasurably by getting involved in this competition. The opportunity to participate in developing a business idea and getting to pitch in front of successful business people at the IoD has given me a life changing experience. Every aspect of the competition has empowered me beyond expectation.’’

Fintan Donohue, chief executive of the Gazelle Colleges Group, the network of further education colleges that created the competition, commented:   ‘’All of the students that took part in the competition have learned first hand about what it takes to start up and work in a business, and this knowledge has given them a real head-start when it comes to moving into employment or self-employment.  

''Through this experience, participating students have engaged with the key transferable skills that will make them attractive to employers, not least creativity, adaptability and resilience together with networking and interpersonal skills.  

 ‘’At the Gazelle Colleges Group, enterprise competition is becoming an integral part of student experience. The student role models that are winners toady help create a culture of enterprise and entrepreneurship in the colleges they come from. The young people in the competition may never actually take forward their own businesses but the experience of being involved in a start-up has developed a mind-set that will strengthen their employment prospects.''