Business start-up success stories

The Cube: business creation and growth service for students

The Cube team believe that people are inspired from other's examples. That’s why we work closely with our students and graduates to understand their particular idea, needs, and aspirations for starting a business and we provide advice, resources, training and support. 

Read the success stories of University of Plymouth students and graduates who have used our services and of which we are extremely proud. Get inspired to make your business idea come to life with our support!

Samuel Fradley

BA (Hons) Photography, University of Plymouth graduate

Business idea

The South West Collective of Photography is dedicated to promoting photography and art in the South West of England, as well as selling a range of photographic goods and accessories. 

Support received from Formation Zone / The Cube

In 2018 I was awarded a £2,000 Santander Graduate Entrepreneur Bursary to start my company. The Cube supported me throughout the start-up of my company and offered me a fantastic range of programmes to help me start and guide me through the process of running a company. These sessions gave me all of the information I needed and set me up for the long term. I am now into the second year of the company and without those sessions, I fear this would have failed. During my time at the Formation Zone within The Cube, I was also delighted to meet other Formation Zone clients who taught me so much about business and other mediums. The Formation Zone clients are some of the best and brightest individuals that the University has to offer and their guidance and experience has given me so much in the form of new friends, colleagues and clients. 

In 2020 The Cube awarded me a Santander Springboard Award of £800 to use as a marketing budget for my business. After identifying the causes for low conversion (sales) through my store, I took the advice from the 1:1 sessions with Adam Croney, Thomas Westcott Chartered Accountants and was immediately able to act on the issue. Since receiving the Springboard Award I have already seen a notable change in web traffic and sales, with this on the rise week by week. With the help of this grant, the University, Santander and the staff in The Cube, I am starting to see the long-term future and feel that it is finally moving in the right direction. 

Advice for budding entrepreneurs

I was told that it’s impossible to make a living from photography. Many people told me this through my studies. Although I concede and admit that it’s not the easiest job in the world, there are ways to do it. Although my company isn’t my salary at this moment, I have no doubt that one day it will be. Believe in your dreams, listen to the advice of your peers, your friends and don’t discredit people based on experience. Be humble, work hard and I have no doubt that things will work out for you.

 

Sarah Williams

MSc Business and Management, University of Plymouth graduate

Business idea 

Ooyoot, an Eco Friendly plant based laundry liquid

Support received from Formation Zone / The Cube

I received excellent support from The Cube which allowed me to move my idea to the next level such as the manufacturing of my product and bringing it to market. The Cube provided a great wealth of support and advice from their mentors, advisors, accountants and The Cube team. The Cube has been a tremendously supportive, the expertise and support they have provided has no doubt played an important part in moving my business forward. 

In 2020 The Cube awarded me a Santander Springboard Award which allowed my product to be manufactured and it is now available to buy online, in local farm shops and local health stores.

 

Jenna Whyman

FdA Contemporary Photography, University of Plymouth graduate

Business idea 

Woogie Big Pants - I have designed and written a range of conversation tools for children, to help them create art and find their voices. I have written art therapy courses for children with special needs and I am animating the series for children to learn how to deal with their feelings through meditation, creation and self-expression.

Support received from Formation Zone / The Cube

Thanks to the support and advice from The Cube in 2020 I have received a Santander Springboard Award to kick start my business. I am also receiving one to one support to help me break down what I need to do and keep me on track. Thank you, The University of Plymouth Cube, we are up and running and on our way thanks to you!

Advice for budding entrepreneurs

My advice to anyone wanting to make the jump and start a business venture on any scale and achieve their dreams is to keep going! Look to all the help and support you can get and believe in your ideas and late-night scribbles.

 

Kamil Aziz

Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS)

Business idea

Passdent is an online revision platform for dental students and professionals

Was the idea formed out of passion or you saw the need/gap in the market? 

As a final year dental student, I found that there was a lack of resources available when preparing for the Situational Judgment Test; a key part of the application for foundation training in the UK. Most courses were difficult to afford and primarily aimed at preparing students for the interview process. The few available books had a limited number of questions and seemed outdated for what is now a computer-based test. My aim was to help students prepare with an up-to date resource that simulates real test conditions at an affordable price. 

Support received from Formation Zone / The Cube 

I received £400 Santander Award to be used towards website development. I also had 1:1 business support and joined online webinars.

Advice for budding entrepreneurs

  • Get started! If you have an idea or passion don’t let the fear of failure stop you from pursuing it.
  • Think long term and stick with it. You will have set backs but failure will help you grow, not just as an entrepreneur but as a person too. 
  • You can’t do it alone. Involve the right people and remember help is available. 
  • Allow for contingencies as things don’t always go to plan!

 

Lucy West

LLB (Hons) Law

Business idea

Cut resistant horse and dog coats.

Was your idea formed out of passion or you saw the need/gap in the market?

Both. My own and friends’ dogs got injuries whilst playing around, and then looking online and fellow owners suffering from the same problems. Nothing was on the market to stop the anguish and the vet costs that followed from each cut. The idea followed into my other hobby, horse-riding, and knowing horse rugs rip within minutes of a horse wearing it.

Support received from Formation Zone / The Cube

Formation Zone Santander Acceleration Award

Advice for budding entrepreneurs

The saying ‘blood, sweat and tears’ has never seemed to fit better than trying to set up your own business.

Every stage and little job will take much longer than you will think it will take and will throw more problems than anything you have done before. Be ready!