A student entrepreneur based at the University of Huddersfield’s 3M Buckley Innovation Centre is being hailed as one of the country’s brightest young talents after reaching the final of a national competition to find Britain’s best self-employed people.
Hard work and dedication can earn you success, and this is just what student entrepreneur Sam Forrest has achieved with his recently-launched, award-winning business.
Formed in January 2014, Uni Media Mash is an online trading platform for students, which makes it easy for members to trade university textbooks and media-related items simply and safely with each other on campus. Once the trade has been made feedback is then left.
“It is similar to an auction/social networking site,” Sam explains. “There is the option to pay cash or swap your items. You then physically meet at designated meeting points around the University campus. It makes it really easy to meet new people and get cheap textbooks, which can often be quite expensive.”
Sam licenses the website out to students’ unions, universities and individual licensees for an annual fee. The Student’s Union at the University of Huddersfield has bought a license and offer it up as a free tool for students under the trade name of HudBooks, with licenses at the universities of Southampton and Exeter giving members unlimited use for a small subscription fee.
Now, Sam is making full use of the University’s facilities, enabling him to take his new enterprise to the next level by setting up his business in The Duke of York Young Entrepreneur Centre, within the University of Huddersfield’s 3M Buckley Innovation Centre.
This will provide him with hot-desking, free use of the electronic facilities he needs to keep his online business growing and, in addition, help from the University’s Enterprise Team.
The team assists enterprising students and recent graduates like Sam to develop their business ideas through one-to-one meetings with their business advisors, a series of business skills events and where appropriate, access to proof of concept funding.
15 for 15 finalist
“They have opened new doors for me, not just on the business side, but competitions as well,” said Sam. “I recently did some filming with the BBC for a documentary and it was the Enterprise Team that found it for me.”
Aged 19 and from the Isle of Wight, Sam has always had an entrepreneurial spirit, running business ventures such as selling craft greetings cards, iPods and vinyl records from a young age.
Sam decided on Huddersfield being his new home after hearing about the University’s pioneering Enterprise Development BA (Hons) degree that is supported and backed by ex-Dragons’ Den panellist and self-made retail millionaire Theo Paphitis.
Sam is already recognised as being one of the country’s brightest and most independent self-employed young entrepreneurs by becoming a finalist in a competition called 15 for 15.
The competition, which has received support from many high profile figures, such as Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Government Ambassador for Women and Enterprise Lorely Burt MP and Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna MP, aims to give the most promising candidates a helping hand by providing them with business support, financial advice and the latest technology. On top of this will be a £5,000 cash prize when the overall winner is announced at a star-studded event to be held in the heart of London during November.
Sam’s future is looking bright and, if he wins the 15 for 15 competition, he says that the award money will go towards helping him expand his business.