Bus offers budding entrepreneurs plenty of advice

thisisoxfordshire: Will Austin of Kayantics, left, with James Eder Buy this photo Will Austin of Kayantics, left, with James Eder

BUDDING entrepreneurs were urged to get on the bus in Oxford for top business advice and access to funding.

A double-decker bus, organised by national enterprise campaign StartUp Britain, pulled into Oxford and Cherwell Valley College in Oxpens Road and teenagers with bright ideas queued up for the chance to boost their businesses.

On board was James Eder, founder of studentbeans.com the financial website for students, which he helped to develop at Oxford University’s Entrepreneurs’ Society.

He said: “I founded my business at the age of 22 and now it employs 35 people and the website has attracted 1.3 million visitors in the last 30 days.

“I started with a low interest loan from the Prince’s Trust but there was nothing like this kind of support seven years ago.”

As well as advice from Mr Eder and the team of specialists on the bus, students were also given the opportunity to boost their fledgling businesses by applying for money from an £82m Government start-up loans scheme targeting 18- to 24-year-olds, announced earlier this year.

Business studies student Will Austin, 16, from Aynho, near Banbury, was looking for advice on establishing his firm, Kayantics, an online operation focusing on the sport of kayaking in which he competes at national level.

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He said: “I have to get the brand established and as it becomes known, people will want to advertise.

“I’m at a lot of events so I will be able to upload pictures and video to the site and encourage other people to do so.

“I am not looking to go to university – I really want to focus on this business.”

OCVC principal Sally Dicketts said: “No-one ever taught me anything about running a business. With our students it is a career option they know about and we support new business ideas, both through funding and a business incubation programme offering longer term support such as office space and access to expert mentors.

“In a tough marketplace we believe this helps to give our students the edge.”

Supported by the Government but funded entirely through sponsorship, the bus is visiting 40 universities and further education colleges reaching up to 10,000 young people across the UK.

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