UWTSD students celebrate successful Apprentice-style event.


Enterprising students at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David have pitched their business ideas to a panel of industry experts at the University’s Race to Market event.

The event, on June 5 to 9, brought together students across the University for a week long Apprentice style business challenge.

The week saw students hone their skills in business development, pitching and networking supported by mentors including entrepreneurial UWTSD graduate Kieran Abbott co-founder of web design and development company Big Lemon Creative.

There were also masterclasses given throughout the week, including the university's Enterprise Manager Kathryn Penaluna who spent a morning with the students talking about intellectual property rights.

Alongside developing their own ideas students also worked on real-life projects set by local entrepreneurs.

At the end of the week the students pitched their ideas to expert judges; Ian Edwards, CEO of the Celtic Manor who has over 25 years of experience in the tourism and hospitality industry and Howard Monsen for Kier Construction Wales, who has worked in the industry since 1989.

Kier have been appointed as the main contractor for phase 1 of the University’s new £300 million SA1 Swansea Waterfront development.

The two winning students were Eleri Sian Beynon, who is studying for a BA in Glass and Architectural Arts and BA Surface Pattern Design student Yvonne Shore.

Eleri’s pitch was a design studio offering classes and short courses in architectural stained glass. She said: "Race To Market really opened my eyes to the possibilities out there. There was so much encouragement and support, I feel like I’ve really grown as a business woman. I wasn’t thinking big enough at the beginning of the week but it’s something that I’m really passionate about and I can’t thank Race to Life enough.

"I’ve enjoyed it so much, I never expected to do so well. I had a rough idea of what I wanted to do and now I’ve come out of it with a business plan that I’m really excited about. It’s a credit to Rhiannon and Lewis and everyone at Life Design who made this event happen."

Yvonne, whose business idea consisted of contact printing on silk working with natural dyes, flowers, roots and leaves to produce pattern and colour, taking an ecological and sustainable approach, said: "It’s been challenging but it’s been good. I’ve found out different things about myself and I couldn’t believe I won! That was the biggest shock because I actually thought I’d faltered!

"The support has been really good, they’ve pushed me but it’s been really helpful and it’s made me take that extra step. Doing the practice pitch was really good, the feedback helped me refine my ideas.”


Special mention was also given by the judges to BA Surface Pattern Design student Rebecca Kate Chamberlain for her pitch – sportswear, combining fashion and function to make beautiful sportswear. She will now be working with Celtic Manor, promoting the fashion line at the resort.

Rebecca said: "Honestly, I think it’s so beneficial. I’ve spoken to people who have paid to go to events like this and it’s fantastic that we are giving this opportunity. The help has been amazing, Rhiannon and Lewis have gone out of their way to make sure that we can make the most of this opportunity and the mentors and masterclasses have just been brilliant.”

Race to Market judge Howard Monsen said: "To study is the most important thing you’ll ever do. What these students have done excels that. On top of studying and working for exams, they’re putting in the extra work to give them a workable business idea.

"The students’ work was fantastic, they have the passion and the drive and they’re willing to put in the hard work. The pitches were fantastic. The winners were picked on the strength of their pitch and their product but this was the start of a very important journey for each and every one of them.

"There were some excellent products being pitched that we could not award prizes to today but we’ll definitely be working with in the future.”

Fellow judge Ian Edwards said: "Thank you for the invitation to be part of today, it’s been a privilege. My job is to engage with young people and help get them to the next level after they graduate. The students here today aren’t afraid to push their boundaries and to keep looking for opportunities. I’m looking forward to working closely with them in the future."

UWTSD Head of Student Experience Estelle Hart said: "It is always fantastic to see the innovative ideas our students bring to the table and it shows the quality of UWTSD students that mentors from local businesses to global brands such as Nike attend year after year to support them."

Rhiannon Lleision-Jones, Senior Student Experience Officer added: "The pitches were outstanding, the progression throughout the week has been amazing and we’re going to continue to work with each one of them to take their products as far as they possibly can. They’ve done absolutely incredibly so well done to them!

"We’ve also been lucky enough to have so many mentors coming in to give masterclasses throughout the week and I’d like to thank each and everyone one of them for giving their time to come and speak with our students.”

Students were supported during the week by a team of volunteer mentors which included entrepreneurs Kieran Abbott of Big Lemon Creative, Helena Demaria-Williams of Nike, Liz Gordon of Mad Apple Designs, Rebecca Hayes of sGRipt and Ross Blytt Jordens of Thunderhat.

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

Race to Market uses the principles of Life Design a four step programme developed at UWTSD that uses design thinking techniques to help students make the most of their time at University and prepare for their future. Contact lifedesign@uwtsd.ac.uk for more information.

Further Information

Rebecca Davies

Swyddog Gweithredol Cysylltiadau â’r Wasg a’r Cyfryngau

Executive Press and Media Relations Officer

Cyfathrebu Corfforaethol a Chysylltiadau Cyhoeddus

Corporate Communications and PR

Tel: 01792 483695
Mobile: 07496 385597
Email: Rebecca.Davies@uwtsd.ac.uk