Entrepreneurial Student’s Business Plans Blossom With Funding and Mentoring Support
A mature learner at Derby College is the first to have secured financial and mentoring support for her new business thanks to an innovative programme to promote students’ entrepreneurial plans, partnered with Flint Bishop Solicitors.
Kayleigh Whyte (25) from Littleover went before a Dragon’s Den-style panel to present her business plan to develop an online floral design business called Enchanted Eden.
She has secured a grant and a loan which was funded by leading law firm Flint Bishop Solicitors, mentoring support from local business professionals and free membership to the Federation of Small Businesses which will assist in taking her business plan forward.
Flint Bishop Solicitors Commercial Contracts Partner Claire Tonks has been heavily involved in the programme since its inception. Claire currently chairs the strategic board for Derby College and has been involved in the workshops run ahead of the ‘Pioneer Pitch’ which saw a series of ‘Lounge sessions’ that were designed to guide entrepreneurs through the six key elements of preparing a business plan.
Each topic was delivered by local experts and covered Strategy, Development and Testing, Marketing and PR, Legal considerations and HR, Operational running and finally, how to fine tune a pitch.
Flint Bishop has not only partnered with Derby College to assist in the delivery of the programme including lecturing and attending networking opportunities, they have also financially contributed to help the students, like Kayleigh Whyte, realise their dreams. Flint Bishop will continue to deliver this level of commitment well into the new financial year.
Claire Tonks said “The Entrepreneurship Academy has been set up at Derby College to promote entrepreneurial skills amongst the students and to provide financial and mentoring support for those ready to set up their own business.
“We are delighted that Kayleigh is this year’s recipient and, with this support I am sure she will make a great success of her business.”
Mentoring support will be provided by fellow panel members – Bev Crighton from University of Derby Business School, marketing expert Philippa Bowen from the Business Ignition Group, Julian Smith from The Alternative Board which coaches and supports business leaders and Melanie Elliott from MCF loans.
Mother-of-two Mrs Whyte returned to Derby College’s Broomfield Hall campus to study Floristry with a view to setting up her own floral design business.
She said: “I am over the moon to have secured this financial and mentoring support from the Academy members. It will really help me to develop the business which I am currently running part time at home while I finish my College course.
“The first things I need are a delivery van and e-commerce website so the financial support will be a great help. I am also keen to set up the business on a proper footing and the advice from the panel members will be invaluable to steer me in the right direction.”
Mrs Whyte has worked in a number of jobs since leaving Derby Moor School but always wanted to set up her own business.
“I love flowers and creativity so came to Derby College to learn the skills and business acumen that I would need and my tutors have been brilliant.
“My business Enchanted Eden is more than just selling flowers – whether that is for a special occasion such as birthdays and weddings, funeral flowers or corporate events.
“I aim to provide a great experience for my customers so they have something that is totally unique to them and to offer personal customer service from home consultations right through to delivery.
“I also plan to set up workshops and school activities in the future as the business grows and the goal is to have my own shop and to employ people who share my passion for floristry.”
Derby College Director of Enterprise and Innovation Louise Curd concluded: “The College’s Entrepreneurship Academy programme links students with employers to give them mentoring and work experience and placement opportunities to better prepare them for the world of work.
“As part of this programme, we recognised the additional support that young entrepreneurs require whether they are still at College or who have recently left.
“The Lounge sessions have been held at the College for students to meet business people and entrepreneurs and learn from their experiences, with the final event taking everything that has been discussed and preparing for the final ‘Pioneer Pitch’.
“Students across the College have also been invited to submit their business ideas to the panel and we are delighted that Kayleigh is the first to be provided with the financial and mentoring support under this new programme.
“We are particularly grateful to Flint Bishop Solicitors for their long term commitment in supporting our students as well as financially helping students like, Kayleigh and others realise their entrepreneurial aspirations. We are very much looking forward to continuing to work with Claire and the team.”