From education to employment

SERC Student Samantha Shortlisted in Side Hustle Initiative 2023

Samantha Brown

South Eastern Regional College Level 3 Technical Diploma in Art and Design student Samantha Brown is gearing up to show off her business skills in the Side Hustle Initiative 2023, hosted by The Apprentice star and first-ever winner, Tim Campbell.

The Side Hustle Initiative is a nationwide annual competition that gives 13 to 18-year-olds, who either already have a side business or who have a business idea they want to launch, the platform to show off their business and turn their ideas into reality. The best competitors have a chance of winning a share of a £10,000 prize pot to help grow their expanding businesses.  

Samantha, 18, from Ballynahinch, is competing in the competition with her creative art and design business StrawberryArtPie, (available on Etsy) designs and handcrafts a unique range of products and artwork, including quirky clay earrings, crocheted plushies, artistic t-shirts, paintings and holiday-themed items. She was selected to progress to the second stage of the competition for being one of the top 100 entrants, with a chance of reaching the final. 

Samantha comments, “I am extremely grateful to have been shortlisted in The Side Hustle Initiative competition, as it will not only help me expand my business but will allow me to show new people my ideas and creativity. The fact that I’ve got so far from starting my business in October 2022 to now is incredible and I’m very excited for the future.” 

As a member of the Virtual Entrepreneurs Club at SERC, Samantha has access to daily updates on funding and competition opportunities, which is where she discovered the Side Hustle Initiative and decided to compete. Samantha has also taken part in one-to-one mentoring programmes available to SERC Virtual Entrepreneurs Club members. Samantha says, “My personal experience working with the SERC Enterprise team has been amazing. They have really allowed me to take creative liberty but also taught me some important business techniques and advice. Overall, I would fully recommend anyone who has a business idea to reach out and get mentored as it has helped me a lot.” 

Samantha needs your vote by 17 August to progress to the Dragon’s Den style final in London – to vote, click here

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