Enterprising SERC Students Impress At Trade Fairs

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The South Eastern Regional Colleges’ (SERC) Enterprise and Entrepreneurship programme organised an opportunity for 12 student companies from across the college to showcase their entrepreneurial talents by taking part in an inter-campus trade fair.

SERC Art and Design students Jamie Walsh from Castlewellan and Krystian Krowzyh from Crossgar who are part of SERC Student Company Impressions of Ireland. The students are with SERC Enterprise Manager Geraldine Boden.
SERC Art and Design students Jamie Walsh from Castlewellan and Krystian Krowzyh from Crossgar who are part of SERC Student Company, Impressions of Ireland with  SERC Enterprise Manager Geraldine Boden, centre.

Students from a range of disciplines brought their products and services to the Trade Fairs and got the opportunity to demonstrate their selling techniques. Products on show included hand-made crafts such as keyrings and mug warmers, paintings, online mobile repairs, specialist skin products, jewellery and up-cycled wood from the joinery department transformed into bespoke garden furniture.

As part of the enterprise programme, students set up their own businesses and run them for an academic year under the guidance of SERC business mentors.

Foundation degree computing student Jordan Moss from Castlewellan who is part of student company WA Designs specialising in website development, said: “We’ve all learned a lot during this experience. We have developed our team work, communication and business acumen, time keeping and entrepreneurial skills. I would really recommend this excellent opportunity to anyone who’s offered it. It’s a challenging but worthwhile experience which show off skills that employers really admire.

SERC Travel and Tourism students Jessica McComb from Killyleagh and Abigail Emerson from Downpatrick who raised £204 for Upskilling Uganda at the trade fairs. The students are with SERC Enterprise Manager Geraldine Boden.
SERC Travel and Tourism students Jessica McComb from Killyleagh and Abigail Emerson from Downpatrick who raised £204 for Upskilling Uganda at the trade fairs. The students are pictured with with SERC Enterprise Manager Geraldine Boden.

“Taking part in the student company has provided me with an insight into what’s involved in becoming self-employed and it has inspired me to set up my own business when I finish my course at SERC.”

SERC Enterprise Manager Geraldine Boden explained: “We have seen some great trade stands today, including website demonstrations as well as fantastically presented products. The students have seen hundreds of pounds of sales and it has been a great demonstration of the enterprising spirit of our students.”
Mrs Boden also explained why enterprise programmes are so important for the students and said: “Encouraging students to consider entrepreneurial opportunities is an important part of what the College offers. The trade fairs are just one of many entrepreneurial initiatives run by the SERC Enterprise Programme and are a fantastic opportunity for students to sample what it is like to run their own business.”

SERC HND Travel and Tourism student Roberta Creer from Newcastle exhibiting her handmade jewellery at the trade fairs.
SERC HND Travel and Tourism student Roberta Creer from Newcastle exhibiting her handmade jewellery at the trade fairs.

Running a SERC Student Company gives students the opportunity to work as a team to generate ideas, explore business development, analyse the financial aspects of a business and learn about the marketing and promotion side of business. It also aims to increase their awareness of what makes a business tick and how to make it a success.

SERC Principal and Chief Executive Ken Webb, said: “The customer service and product knowledge of these students has been superb. I have enjoyed very much meeting and speaking with all of the students. There is a great need to provide opportunities today that help our students pursue their dreams and build the businesses of tomorrow.

“After all, enterprise is not solely about having great ideas and knowing how to take them forward, it’s about being innovative, understanding risk, making things happen and not missing great opportunities. Our enterprise programmes will kick-start the conversations that are needed to make this happen.”