Student wins top prize in enterprise competition

Congratulations to Shannon Hooper,  winner of Bridgend College’s brand new enterprise competition!

‘Bridgend College Means Business’ was a competition open to any Bridgend College student who had just started their own business or had a business idea that they would like to take to the next stage. The competition was held with generous support and leadership from Austin Walters of Baker Vaughn Consulting.  In collaboration with Careers Lead, Steve Jones, and Entrepreneurship Officer, Ruth Rowe, ‘Bridgend College Means Business’ was launched in January 2020.      

Shannon, founder of Simply Rural Hooper’s, studied HND Agriculture at the College and came up with the idea to make and sell organic beeswax candles, pitching it to Austin in the final stage of the competition. Shannon set up her business during lockdown, learning how to create an e-commerce website as a result of demand generated by Facebook and Instagram. Since then, Shannon has diversified into soy wax candles, soy wax melts, tea light holders and tin scented soy wax candles.

Shannon received additional enterprise support from Ruth Rowe and Miranda Thomas for Big ideas Wales. Whilst initially finding setting up a business during a pandemic challenging, part of the competition prize for Shannon is ongoing mentoring from Austin.

Talking about her experience, Shannon said;

“Everything is good at the moment. Especially learning new skills along the way and learning from other businesses. Pitching to Austin was invaluable, how many other business owners get a chance like that? I can’t believe I won, I really wasn’t expecting that, and I wasn’t expecting so many customers so soon!”

Students from a wide range of subject areas including Photography, Animal Care, Fashion, Sport and Beauty Therapy also took part and business ideas ranged from a modern sword fighting academy to a style consultancy.    

Austin is a huge supporter of Enterprise at Bridgend College and wanted to use his wealth of experience and expertise to support aspiring young entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into successful and sustainable businesses.

Well done Shannon. We’re all very proud of you!