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West Suffolk College students come out to pitch business ideas

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Students from a college came out on Monday to sell products they had made as part of a project aiming to nurture their entrepreneurial skills.

The group from the business and retail department at West Suffolk College pitched up their own stalls outside the arc shopping centre, Bury St Edmunds, where they spoke to prospective buyers passing by about the products they had been working on in teams since last November.

There were dog treats in recycled glass jars, design-your-own biscuits, postcards and A4 posters made up by the college’s art department that were being sold on, and more.

Students were given a £50 budget to make up their ideas. ....PICTURE: Mecha Morton
Students were given a £50 budget to make up their ideas. ....PICTURE: Mecha Morton

The project was a chance for students to understand how to follow through with a business idea from start to finish, and the different departments involved such as marketing, finance, operations, and project leading.

“It has given me insight into how much work goes in,” said Millie Scott, 18, who was the financial manager for the group that were selling postcards and posters.

To fund the projects, the students were given a £50 loan by Valerie Watson-Brown, director of the lively crew marketing agency, who helped the students mould their ideas.

With the £50 budget they had to find everything they needed to make their products.

Valerie said that as less students are working day jobs compared to when she was younger, it was important they took on tasks like this to ‘take them out of their comfort zone’.

One student, Owen Day, 18, who was operations manager in his group, said: “Usually the college work is more independent so it’s nice to work as a team.”

He said he had learned useful life skills such as time management and being a good team player as part of the project.

To help create more enthusiasm around the day, a band from the college music department came out to do a flash mob as well.

Nina Hart, lecturer in business and tourism at West Suffolk College, said they wanted to put on a project that was as ‘live as possible’ and encouraged the students to develop their negotiation skills, sourcing of products, and sales techniques.

As part of the project, ten per cent of all profits made went to the GeeWizz Charity.