Cardiff Met start-ups receive Santander funding boost

Cardiff Met start-ups receive Santander funding boost

Eight start-up businesses have received funding from Santander as part of the Centre for Entrepreneurship at Cardiff Metropolitan’s Countdown to Launch programme.

Countdown to Launch saw 22 budding entrepreneurs develop their business ideas through a series of interactive workshops and guest talks.

During the five-day programme, participants learned about marketing, IP, financial planning, supply chain management and business modelling. 

The week kicked off with an inspirational keynote from former Wales international rugby union player Richard Parks. 

Richard told of his incredible journey into extreme endurance sports following an injury which forced early retirement from rugby.

His talk focused on the importance of perseverance, support networks and determination, highlighting several parallels with the world of business start-up. 

The talk was followed by an interactive workshop in which participants explored potential business opportunities based on the information in Richard's talk. 

On the final day of the programme, participants were given the opportunity to pitch to a panel of entrepreneurs and business professionals for a share of the prize fund.

The panel consisted of: Santander’s business relationship manager James Watson, lifestyle and interiors journalist and entrepreneur Nicola Wilkes and Lee Sharma, chief executive of EdTech and training company Simply Do.

James Watson said: "Without doubt, the Countdown to Launch event is one of the highlights of my year.

“Not only do I get to listen to the hopes and dreams of our next-generation entrepreneurs, myself and Santander also have the chance to help them on their way with seed-funding awards and mentoring sessions.

“This can make all the difference to the future plans of the students and strengthens our long-standing relationship with Cardiff Metropolitan University."

The start-ups that have been supported are: 

  • Jewellery designer and maker Rhian Morris
  • Fine artist Molly Lewis
  • Co-founder of Archer Sports Management Ben Hofmeister
  • Event and nightlife photographer Katerina Hristova
  • Lloyd Rayer (founder of children sports coaching company
  • Lighting and furniture designer and maker Evan Moore
  • Louie Sims (founder of sports performance company)
  • David Barton who has designed an insole product that can help prevent and care for foot lesions in diabetic patients

MSc Strength and Conditioning graduate Louie Sims said: "Countdown to launch was a great experience. I learned more about business in a week than I ever knew before.

“Not only will the prize fund help me to build my business, but I have also been able to meet a lot of great contacts I can call on in the future.”

The Centre’s Business Start-up Manager Dewi Gray added: "We were delighted with the quality of businesses that took part in Countdown to Launch this year.

“The eight entrepreneurs to have received funding were particularly impressive and the money will help to take their businesses to the next level."