National business week

We caught up with some of our entrepreneurial students and graduates during National Small Business Week 2018.

Below, you’ll hear from graduates Mat Gilbert (Sports Conditioning and Coaching) and Dee Holdsworth (Equestrian Sports Science) and find out what they’ve been up to since they left Hartpury. They’ll give you the lowdown on running a business and even let us in on some of their top tips! If you’re thinking of setting up a business, make sure you check them out.

We’ve also chatted with two outstanding students, Charlotte Heaven (Applied Agriculture) and Will Biggs (Sport Business Management) who are working hard to launch a business alongside their studies. We’re supporting them every step of the way. If you’re thinking of setting up a business, get in touch. We’d love to help you too.

Dee Holdsworth, BSc Equestrian Sports Science

“I love working with the horse and the rider. For me, performance is about the whole package. If you love what you do and you’re good at it, you’ll be successful. That’s my philosophy.”

“At elite level you’ve got two athletes, the horse and the rider. To perform at your best, you have to work with both. That’s the approach I take with my clients. I spend time treating the rider and their horses and create a plan that suits their needs. Im really invested in the people and horses that I work with and just love watching them compete.

“If you’re thinking of setting up a business, you’ve got to believe in yourself and be prepared to graft. Im fortunate that my work is off recommendations now, but in the beginning stages you have to get yourself out there.”

Dee Holdsworth set up her business Dynamic Sports Therapy in 2014. She specialises in soft tissue therapy and performance for elite level horses and riders.

Mat Gilbert, BSc (Hons) Sport Conditioning and Coaching

“I love interacting with sports fans at Hartpury. I supply the fresh brewed coffee while they discuss the action on the pitch. My goal is to improve their match day experience.”

“My top tip when setting up a business is to do your research. Know who your customer is and how to reach them. I realised there was a gap in the market for a high quality coffee van at Hartpury. Before I converted a horse trailer into The Galloping Barista, I met with the Principal to make sure I had a viable business.

“When I’m not on the pitch playing for Hartpury RFC, I’m selling fresh coffee and homemade treats to fans. The first season has been great. When my rugby career finishes, I’ll grow the coffee business and move into events catering. I’m already building a wood fired pizza oven in another trailer.

“Hartpury taught me a lot about teamwork and how to adapt to people. Always be nice to people, you never know when they could help your business in the future. Be brave and go for it.”

Mat Gilbert is a professional rugby player. At the height of his career he played for the England deaf rugby team and Bath Rugby. His career spans Mogliano in Italy, the Scarlets and the Worcester Warriors. He’s now back on home turf playing for Hartpury RFC.

Will Biggs, BSc Sport Business Management

“I’m a huge sports fan. My dream is to connect you with the team you love using the smart phone in your pocket.”

“My top tip for setting up a business is to do your research and know your target audience. I was at Twickenham with my dad when I had the idea for MatchDayInfo. We wanted to find out about the upcoming match and look at other sports fixtures at the same time. My goal is to create a sports app for sports fans. Somewhere they can follow their favourite teams and watch the live scores come in.

“I’ve been developing my idea during my course. My lecturers have been a great source of business expertise. I focused my dissertation on app marketing and gained an insight into my target audience. I’m ready to pitch my app to local clubs. In a few years’ time, I’d love to take the app global.

“My final piece of advice is to work hard and never give up. Take every opportunity that comes your way, you never know who you’ll meet and what you’ll learn.”

Will Biggs will start his Master of Science by Research at Hartpury in September.

Charlotte Heaven, BSc Agriculture  

“I’ve always loved working with animals. We’ve had sheep in the family for 40 years, so I’ve grown up looking after them. I recently joined the business as a partner and have taken over the day-to-day management of the flock. I’m usually up at 6am for the feeding, before I start my university work for the day.

“I’d like to start producing meat boxes which I’ll sell directly to the customer. This will allow me to manage the whole process and ensure I maintain a high standard of welfare and quality. I’ll be taking a business management module next year which I’m really looking forward to. I’d like to start using social media to promote my flock of sheep, I’ll show the lambs being born and how I’m hand rearing them. I hope this will help to bridge the gap between the farm and the general public.

“My advice is to stay positive. Believe in yourself and work hard and you can achieve anything you set your mind to. The trick is to do something you’re passionate about. I love every aspect of farming, the people and the animals, and find it really rewarding. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds.”

Charlotte Heaven is currently in her first year of BSc Agriculture at Hartpury. She runs a sheep business alongside her studies, and dreams of owning her own farm one day.

Thinking of studying with us at University Centre Hartpury?

We offer degrees in agriculture, animal, equine, sport, and veterinary nursing.

Other Related Information