Leading Entrepreneur Praises Enterprising Students at UWTSD Race to Market Event


Business leader Simon Gibson OBE was amongst the judges who praised enterprising University of Wales Trinity Saint David students at the University’s recent Race to Market event.

The event brought together students from the University’s Lampeter, Carmarthen and Swansea campuses in a week long challenge to develop a business idea and pitch it to the judges.

Simon Gibson, OBE, Chief Executive of Wesley Clover, Co-founder of Ubiquity Software Corporation and Director at IQE plc, Innovation Point and The Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, praised the innovation demonstrated by the students taking part and the breadth of ideas on show saying : “The standard of pitches was fabulous and it was great to see such a wide variety of ideas both aesthetic and technological.”

‌Simon Gibson was joined by fellow judges Margaret Llewellyn, OBE, Director of SeaPort Development and the Ports of Jersey, Non-executive Director at Cardiff Airport and the Haven Enterprise Board and Chair of Visit Wales and Neath AM Jeremy Miles.

Welsh companies founded by UWTSD graduates were amongst the organisations taking part in the event by setting challenges for groups of students. They included MEE Creative, founded by Liam Mee and Big Lemon Creative, set up by Keiron Abbott and Owen Richards.

Students were also supported during the week by a team of volunteer mentors which included entrepreneurs Tony McAvoy, Helena Demaria-Williams, Geoff Dendle and former Welsh Government minister Edwina Hart.

Tony McAvoy is one of the founding shareholders in Tidy Productions, Ruth Jones’s and David Peet’s independent television Production Company, which makes Stella for Sky1.  In 1982 Tony set up Prospect Pictures, an independent television production company. Over the next twenty years Prospect made a range of award-winning factual and factual entertainment programmes presented by and featuring people such as Julie Walters, Philip Schofield, Graham Norton, Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood, Michael Sheen and Reggie Yates. Tony’s latest venture is a feature film and TV drama script development company called Provenance Pictures.

Energy Retail Brand Executive at Nike, Helena Demaria-Williams’s work focuses on how Nike’s brand is seen and positioned in retail, within stores and online, by working with designers, innovators and influencers. Helena has a varied background having worked on projects across fashion, on music videos, branding and has even run an independent cafe and pop up parties.

Geoff Dendle has held a number of strategic roles with SeeBoard plc (an international Power company) and subsequently EDF. Although he recently retired from larger corporations, Geoff is still working as an independent management coach, working with clients by drawing on his industry background. Geoff was a mentor for last years’ Race to Market.

Student Ifan Rhys Herridge – who is studying for a Masters in Business Administration said: “I came with an idea and I was able to work with groups of people and through a system that allowed me to develop my idea in a way that I could coherently present it to people.”

And Soo Leng Yeap – a 1st year Illustration student added : “I’m so glad I took part in this event. I have a lot of ideas about my business plan. It really encouraged me and gave me the confidence I needed to start my own business.”

Acting Student Experience Manager Estelle Hart, who organised the event as part of the University’s Life Design initiative which provides opportunities for students to develop their skills and experience said :  “We’re incredibly proud of our UWTSD students and graduates – an enterprising spirit and ability to work with clients is something that sets students from this university apart and this has been demonstrated by all who took part this week.  Thanks to everyone who helped make this event such a success – the client companies, students, staff, judges and our brilliant mentors.”

Note to Editor

UWTSD has developed a strong reputation for entrepreneurship developed through its International Institute for Creative Entrepreneurial Development (IICED).

Life Design is a four step programme -unique to UWTSD - that uses design thinking techniques to help students make the most of their time at Uni and prepare for their future. Contact lifedesign@uwtsd.ac.uk for more information.

Or take look at the website :  http://lifedesign.uwtsd.ac.uk/race-to-market-2016/