Students showcase entrepreneurial spirit
A local online shopping delivery app that generated £100,000 of orders for regional retailers and a social enterprise that helps children improve their literacy and numeracy skills are among a diverse range of businesses recognised as part of the Hallam Enterprise Awards.
In response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the annual awards are being hosted online this year with ten of the best student and graduate entrepreneurs invited to showcase their business in a one-minute pitch.Given the unprecedented challenges that businesses are facing at this time, the ten finalists will equally share the £10,000 prize money, kindly donated by Santander Universities.
Supporters, stakeholders and members of the public will be able to vote for their favourite pitch – with the winner of the vote receiving an additional £500 donated by the Enterprise Team at Hallam.
One of the entrepreneurs, Sheffield Hallam graduate Mazen Musaeed, provided a vital lifeline to Sheffield’s independent supermarkets and grocery specialists during lockdown with his pioneering app 3miles.co.uk.
Independent food retailers including butchers and organic produce shops, who in normal times relied on passing trade and regular customers found their orders drop at the beginning of lockdown. As more customers began switching their weekly shop from the supermarket to home delivery, they found themselves unable to secure online grocery deliveries from the large supermarkets.
The 3miles online portal allowed these smaller independent businesses to start sell their products online in a low-cost way.
To date, the business has helped the city’s independent retailers secure orders of more than £100,000 and is attracting an average of 500 new customers per week as growing numbers of shoppers turn to the internet for their weekly shop.
Founder and CEO of 3Miles, Mazen Musaeed said: “When lockdown happened, we were able to help independent shops keep their businesses open, and we were able to help people stay safe at home and receive their essentials.
“Now we have built a trusting community that is supporting us to provide more help and service for both the local people of Sheffield and Sheffield’s local independent food and drinks retailers.”
Another entrepreneur aiming to have the most successful pitch is finance graduate John Kamara with his educational social enterprise, Beards and Books.
John created Beards and Books as a storytelling provider which focusses on increasing the visibility of children’s multicultural books in Sheffield.
With the support of volunteers, Beards & Books has been able to expand its services over time so that it is now able to offer tuition and online educational resources for children, parents and teachers.
Beards & Books uses a holistic approach to learning which focusses on the development of life skills designed to support students into becoming confident, creative and informed individuals.
Caroline Nouvellon, Student and Graduate Enterprise Manager at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “At this time of year, the Enterprise Team is normally working flat out in preparation to host its flagship event, the Hallam Enterprise Awards, and looking forward to welcoming 200 invited guests from both the higher education and business sectors.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has meant that this year that we have had to host the awards online, but I am delighted that we are able to celebrate the success of our fantastic student and graduate entrepreneurs.”