UWTSD launches new guidebook for freelancers to mark Global Entrepreneurship Week


As part of its celebration of top-ranking success, University of Wales Trinity Saint David are marking Global Entrepreneurship Week (November 16-22) by launching a new publication to help people starting up in business as freelancers. Recent events suggest that more graduates than ever will be seeking work when jobs are harder to come by, so the recent release of figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency is particularly welcomed.


Neil Dyer, founder of business consultancy NeoDynamic, graduated from UWTSD with a distinction in his MBA (Masters in Business Administration) in 2014.

These reveal that UWTSD is top in Wales and ninth in the UK for the number of businesses started by its graduates during 2018/19. But the story doesn’t stop there, because UWTSD graduate’s businesses are amongst the very top of survivability rankings too - top in Wales and second in the UK for graduate start-ups that are still active after three years.

The university’s Research Innovation and Enterprise Services (RIES) team sits behind much of the success. They offer a range of support for fledgling businesses, most of which are inspired by, and designed in collaboration with, these entrepreneurial alumni. Supported by Welsh Government and their Big Ideas Wales initiative, it is a powerful mix.

Within RIES, the university’s International Institute for Creative Entrepreneurial Development (IICED) is an acknowledged world leader in developing future-proof types of education that help learners to succeed, and the new publication continues this theme.

Working It Out – a guide for first time freelancers, helps to deliver what will be needed.

It covers topics such as managing your cash, establishing your brand, finding work and troubleshooting. The guide was written for the university’s students, recent graduates and anyone thinking of entering the world of freelancing. It is available on both the RIES webpage and the university’s IICED publications page.

“We produced this guide because we felt it was important to have a comprehensive guide that was accessible to all our students, with which they could gain a lot of useful and easy to understand information, while hearing inspirational stories of our recent graduates and their top tips for success,” says Enterprise Officer Dylan Williams-Evans.

“Our Enterprise Department is constantly looking at ways to engage and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs, especially given the current climate, and this guide will be an invaluable tool in our aim of raising awareness of the possibility of becoming a freelancer. We are hoping that it will start a conversation and lead to us being able to support our students/graduates to fulfil their freelancing ambitions.”

A key aspect of the university’s work supporting entrepreneurship and enterprise is that it teaches skills that are useful not just for starting your own business, but also for progressing your career if you work for a company, especially when that company needs creative problem solvers.

“Being enterprising doesn’t mean that we need to start a business, but we have the potential to, whether it be now or later in our career. In many cases this may be a long-term goal, and for others it may not be on their radar at all,” says Enterprise Manager Kathryn Penaluna.

“The evidence is very clear that businesses need people who can bring ideas to the table, suggest ways to make them happen and take the initiative. Companies see enterprising skills as an indicator of how well you will be able to support the company longer term - through promotion and the types of leadership responsibilities that come with it.

“So, enhancing entrepreneurial skills, such as creativity and critical thinking, and being flexible and adaptable to respond to challenge and opportunities, is a win, win, because it can help you to progress your career wherever you wish to go. The Entrepreneurship side will also help you to understand how a company works and why, for example, some things are prioritised above others. An employee who understands what makes their company tick is a very valuable employee indeed.”

Former students who are now running successful businesses have consistently praised the support received from the university, which supports the idea that in turn, the University can learn from them.

Neil Dyer, founder of business consultancy NeoDynamic, graduated from UWTSD with a distinction in his MBA (Masters in Business Administration) in 2014. He said:

“My degree gave me the confidence and skill to give it a go. I was at a turning point in my career. I had a senior management job and a growing family, but the spark and excitement to go to work had gone. I was toying with the idea of setting up on my own, but I didn't know what to do and I didn't have enough belief in myself. The MBA helped solidify my business knowledge, the lecturers encouraged my learning and one in particular gave me the time and encouragement to start up my own business consultancy. I started planning my business in my first year and NeoDynamic started trading in my second year.”

Sara Holden gained a Master’s in Visual Arts Enterprise at UWTSD, having previously gained a degree in Fine Art in London. In 2005 she set up Sculpture by the Sea UK, an Environmental Arts Company operating in South and West Wales.

Sara Holden gained a Master’s in Visual Arts Enterprise at UWTSD, having previously gained a degree in Fine Art in London. In 2005 she set up Sculpture by the Sea UK, an Environmental Arts Company operating in South and West Wales.

“The course in Visual Arts Enterprise was really interesting as it combined the arts and business enterprise,” she says. “It concentrated on building skills in entrepreneurship and encouraged students to set up their own creative business. I was already running workshops for schools and communities after my degree, but the Master’s gave me the confidence to grow my business further to include collaborating with other artists and working on a bigger scale. Learning how to apply for funding to run my own projects was a crucial element that I gained from the course and allowed me the freedom to design projects myself with the aims and objectives that I wanted to achieve rather than working on other people's ideas.”

“UWTSD have looked at all aspects of running a creative business from marketing to making art and have designed courses that are really useful for students. They have employed the best lecturers possible to deliver these courses which are realistic as well as being inspirational to students.”

Naomi Bishop, co-founder of Hozah, which specialises in digital land management for the Smart City in the Transport and Parking sector, graduated from UWTSD with a BA (Hons) Product Design degree. Hozah now works with a plethora of Local Authorities, NHS sites and private businesses all over the UK.

Naomi said: My Product Design background was a huge contributor to the success of getting my business off of the ground. Product Design specifically taught me how to build products that people want and need. It taught me how to evaluate and analyse markets and users to build products that best serve them. By doing that over a number of years in UWTSD you have it in engrained in you to find ‘problems’ in everyday life. Your job as a Product Designer is to develop solutions to those problems, whether they be physical products, or in our case, digital solutions. Another big asset for me was the toolset I left with. Founding a start-up company, you wear a lot of hats, and being able to design our own marketing collateral, brochures, leaflets, pitch decks and more helped us out a lot, particularly in our early years. Whilst I’ve stepped back from doing that myself now, it is reassuring to know that if the business needed it, the designer in me could still step in and take the reins.

“A lot of effort has been put into making UWTSD a hub for creativity over the years. There were numerous developments underway whilst I was still a student at the University and studying in the ALEX building for my final year was without a doubt the highlight of my time at UWTSD. The facilities were incredible, and you’d be hard pressed to find a better environment to exercise your creativity in. Entrepreneurship and creativity were encouraged and I’ve no doubt the students who came after me will thrive in the University for years to come. Alongside the great facilities available for students, has to be the quality of the lecturers showing you the ropes. I think it’s incredibly valuable to have people teaching you who have ‘walked the walk’ themselves, and the lecturers who taught me during my time at UWTSD still remain some of the most talented people I’ve ever met.”

In addition to providing inspirational workshops for UWTSD, Neil and Sara share their expertise as role models with Big Ideas Wales.

UWTSD Swansea College of Art are also hosting an online workshop with the Big Ideas Wales Role Model, Ayesha Pontin during Global Entrepreneurship Week.

The workshop will take place on Tuesday 17th November at 2pm.

Dr David Bird, Lecturer in Creative Music Technology at UWTSD said: "Ayesha is a multidiscipline practitioner that has been working in the creative industries for over twenty years.  We’re lucky to have the opportunity to engage with an industry professional that has a wealth of experience in a wide variety of the creative industries.  Ayesha will discuss the portfolio of work developed throughout her career and there will be an opportunity to ask questions at the end of the session."

Naomi Bishop, co-founder of Hozah, which specialises in digital land management for the Smart City in the Transport and Parking sector, graduated from UWTSD with a BA (hons) Product Design degree

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

Mobile: 07384 467071

Email: Rebecca.Davies@uwtsd.ac.uk