Victoria Walford, alumna, Victorious Bakery, new start-up
Victoria decided to adapt her PgDip Psychology and used it to start her own business. It was possible by getting mentoring, office space and some start-up grants from two LSBU schemes designed to encourage entrepreneurship. Doing so she created Victorious Bakery.
The Student Enterprise team runs the Entrepreneurship in Action Scheme (EiA) helping students to develop their entrepreneurial talents while studying at LSBU. Students who are serious about developing enterprising skills or have a project or business idea in mind can be supported with a cash infusion, office space, a business address and access to mentoring and training. Victoria took advantage of both these schemes, and is now reaping the rewards.
The Enterprise Associate Scheme (EAS) supports recent LSBU graduates who have the drive, commitment and innovation to develop their own business or social enterprise. Enterprise Associates research, design, test and implement their business proposals over 12 months, while simultaneously enjoying structured learning and mentoring.
LSBU invests in its graduates with training, mentoring and an opportunity to bid for funds. Enterprise Associates usually gain hands-on business experience and may have achieved an investment-ready business by the end of the year.
Developing the business
The Victorious Baking specialises in creating delicious healthy treats from carefully chosen fresh ingredients that allow everyone to enjoy a sweet treat. These include allergy sufferers, diabetics, the health conscious and those on low calorie diets. Victoria has been working with Allergy UK and weight-loss consultants Jane Plan, who have already taken her shortbread nationwide. Now she is running a series of tasting sessions across London, and has signed a new deal with the Café Brera chain to stock her cakes. Her aim is to build the business online for home delivery.
Victoria's degree was in Psychology, which may not seem particularly relevant to a specialist bakery. However, as Victoria explains, there are important skills to be gained.
"I adapted the final year project towards my business idea that was still in the seeding phase, so that I may learn something useful, directly or indirectly. If I think about applying what I discovered in my Psychology course I think there is quite a lot that is relevant to what I am doing now. After all, I need to know people as I am trying to persuade consumers to buy a product and a new product at that, one they don't have any understanding. It's going to be a challenge! I also need to convert consumer opinions and perceptions about health food which is another psychological challenge. And before I convert consumers I have to convert the distributors. It's a long road ahead!"
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