A group of six ambitious Abertay University graduates pitched their ideas to a panel of local business experts last week marking the finale of their participation in Coca-Cola 5by20 Dundee ‘FasTRACK to Business Success’.
Following completion of the course, which is a week-long programme covering the fundamentals of business, six of the original cohort of eight graduates have decided to take their businesses forward.
With the Coca-Cola 5by20 programme approaching the end of its two-year tenure, the award-winning Dundee initiative will evolve into Women’s Business Station later this year. This is the first time that the programme has taken its pioneering programme into the local education / business community, arming graduates with knowledge and skills on topics from business ideas, business models and brand awareness to social media, finance and perfecting their pitch.
Today, the support panel of local experts heard presentations from the graduates, who made a case for their business support needs. In turn, the panel provided valuable guidance and shared contacts, helping the graduates take their businesses forward, covering everything from gaming and baking to an exercise app.
Simon Fraser, Student Enterprise Officer, Abertay University said, “It has been great to have Coca-Cola 5by20 Dundee, in partnership with Women’s Business Station, delivering the FasTRACK to Business Success programme for our students. We are creating the next generation of business owners and so the practical business advice on offer through the programme is invaluable. We have already seen a vast improvement in the confidence and clarity of the businesses our students are developing which culminated in their pitches today. We are delighted to be able to offer this programme in Bell Street Ventures through the support of the William M Sword Bequest and the Santander Universities Network as well as supporting a number of the students over the summer with an Enterprise Bursary.”
One of the graduates taking part was Jenny Caplan, a first year Computer Arts student at Abertay University. She said, “Our website Jukiyo aims to help and connect creative people, like aspiring animators and game designers, create and collaborate on their dream projects with people around the world. During the programme, we were given vast amounts of information and advice. Things became clearer with each day and I began developing more short-term goals. It began to feel ‘real’ and that’s when my worries turned into excitement and I now realise my passion for business. The programme has helped me to understand that the things we learn and execute in business are inadvertently comparable to personal and critical thinking which is very useful in our everyday lives.”
Angie Foreman, Programme Director added, “We were absolutely delighted to be taking our course into the wider community for the very first time. The FasTRACK programme has a proven track record with women setting up in business, so we were thrilled to tailor it to help some of the city’s top graduates who have some really fantastic ideas in the making. Not only have we armed them with the crucial business basics but given them the chance to pitch their vision to local business leaders, gathering some crucial advice, contacts and suggestions in the process.
“On a broader level, the opportunity to deliver our FasTRACK and possibly short courses in the future to other educational and professional bodies as a revenue stream for the Women’s Business Station will ensure that we can continue to support our members in 2020 and beyond.”
Launched in 2010, Coca-Cola 5by20 is a global initiative with one purpose – to enable the economic empowerment of five million women by 2020. Run in over 60 countries around the world, Dundee is the only city in Western Europe to host the programme.
In less than two years, the programme has supported 142 women, 80 of whom have launched their own business and 38 of whom continue to grow their business. Furthermore, over 50 new jobs have been created, alongside over 30 volunteer opportunities. There are currently 40 mentors, male and female, including entrepreneurs, consultants, academics and business people from a range of sectors.Later this year, the programme will officially evolve into Women’s Business Station.