From education to employment

Barnsley College students pitch their business plans to professionals

@BarnsleyCollege students with entrepreneurial ambition have had the opportunity to pitch their business plans to a panel of industry experts at a celebration evening as part of the iTrust programme. iTrust is the College’s business start-up programme designed exclusively for students.

The event’s goal was to allow students the chance to pitch their business plans and goals for the future, as well as celebrate their current success to a panel of business representatives who either currently support iTrust or hope to in the coming months.

The iTrust initiative is a joint venture between the College, The Barnsley Chronicle and The Business Village and supports students interested in starting up a business in Barnsley. Students who choose to receive support from iTrust will have access to an array of information and guidance such as mentoring from industry specialists and local businesses and financial investments. The programme also provides students with the chance to be awarded a grant of up to £250 to help towards the cost of the business from stock and equipment to refurbishing and premise rent.

This year, iTrust has been responsible for helping over 40 students achieve their business goals, of which, ten attended the celebratory evening session.

The guest panel comprised of a variety of business professionals including Barnsley College’s Deputy Principal of Culture, Place and Communities, Liz Leek; Managing Director of ASAP Accountants and Business Advisors Ltd., Andy Seymour; Business Coach, Tim Coleman; Enterprise Coach, Andy Callard; Virgin Money Financial Wellbeing Officer, Kirsty Morgan; Director of Brooke Consultancy, Dominic Brooke; and Owner of Connect and Create, Ceri Batchelder.

First to pitch their business was Jake Sargison, Founder of JS Landscaping and Gardening. Launching his business earlier this year, Jake creates luxurious outdoor spaces and gardens for those on a budget; cutting prices well below the competition, he hopes to create dream gardens by installing various features including decking and flower beds.

Jake closed his pitch by sharing images of some of the garden transformations he has been responsible for and received praise from many of the guest panel. Andy Seymour shared some handy tips with Jake about managing his tax and profits as his business grows.

Jake, current Level 3 Esports student at the College, said:

“When I started my business this year, I didn’t know much about running it but with iTrust’s advice and guidance I’ve been able to learn lots about the world of entrepreneurship and become more efficient when managing my workload. iTrust have taught me all about the financial aspects of being self-employed and, with the grant, I have been lucky enough to buy a new cement mixer.”

Ashleigh Jackson and boyfriend Brandon Ashton, both currently studying A Levels at Barnsley Sixth Form College and owners of Door to Door Treats, also presented their business at the event. Ashleigh and Brandon created their sweet treat empire in 2019, advertising on local social media groups and selling to family and friends before growing in lockdown, registering their business, launching their own social media pages and gaining over 25 orders a week. Ashleigh shared her long-term goals for the business and even secured orders from some of the panel.

Jess Widdowson, Enterprise Team Leader at Barnsley College, added:

“At Barnsley College we are committed to transforming the lives of students, staff and communities and our celebration evening was a fantastic opportunity for our iTrust students to share their successes with our external partners. I am so proud of the students’ achievements and how they tackled some challenging questions from our guests. I look forward to seeing their progress throughout the next twelve months.”

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