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University of Chester students with growing venture named finalists in UK enterprise awards

A team of University of Chester students with an eco-friendly business has been selected as a UK finalist in a competition bringing together the country’s most talented young entrepreneurs.

The students were crowned Young Enterprise (YE) Start-Up Awards UK finalists after impressing judges at the North West stage of the competition with their carbon-cutting venture, ‘A Wild Life’. The business offers seeded cardboard boxes, as a more sustainable way to package goods. Consumers can plant the packaging which is integrated with flower or vegetable seeds.

Students Jade McArdle, Eleanor Jones, Demi Evans, Aaron Jones and Josh Sellings will compete for a series of awards at the final in May, including the title of YE UK Start-Up Company of the Year.

They are currently in the second year of their undergraduate degree studies in Business Management, International Business Management and Events Management at the University’s Business School. They developed the idea as part of the Entrepreneurial Thought in Action module which is one of the ways students are supported to start their own business and learn the skills of new enterprise management.

A total of 13 teams of student entrepreneurs competed at the North West final, which took place at University Academy 92 (UA92) in Manchester, with just five teams going on to represent the region in the UK final.

Student Jade McArdle, Managing Director of A Wild Life, said:

“The North West final was a great opportunity for us to not only promote our business, but also ourselves. It was a perfect networking opportunity with people from different areas of business and enterprise.

“The constant conversation of our business in general chat, to the business interviews meant that we were always forward-thinking on the idea and our business processes which has helped us find ways we can improve, for the next round of the competition and beyond. 

“We are so happy that all of our hard work paid off and that we are through to the UK final.”

Lecturer and Joint Leader of the Entrepreneurial Thought in Action Module, Conor Dangerfield said:

“A Wild Life truly exemplified the high standards of our University of Chester student community. While competing against our closest regional competitors, the members of the team excelled in their preparation, creativity, confidence, and business acumen.

“They were interviewed separately in three stages, denoting their capabilities for market entry, international exports, and their overall strategy in their competitive industry. Their last challenge, pitching in front of everyone, was as consistent as their interviews.

“They excelled throughout the day, highlighting in-depth knowledge of different aspects of their company and the wider industry.”

Cheryl Sorensen, Lecturer and Joint Module Leader, added:

“Conor and I, the team, and the department are immensely proud that we can say that these students represent Chester Business School. 

“We can now prepare for the next challenge, where the students will compete with the UK’s best and brightest young entrepreneurs.”

The YE Start-Up Awards UK final will be held at the University of Salford on May 10, 2023, and will welcome student entrepreneurs from across the UK to pitch their business to a panel of respected judges. The winners of the UK Start-Up Company of the Year title will go on to compete in the European YE Awards.

The North West final took place in February.

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