Student entrepreneurs win University’s enterprise award

Two students, Molly Rumford and Katie Mahon have won an exceptional prize for their social enterprise.

Two third year theatre and performance students, Molly Rumford and Katie Mahon have won an exceptional prize for their social enterprise, Bloomin’ Buds, in the University’s most prestigious enterprise awards for 2018.

The exceptional award of £1,000 was made to Molly and Katie for their business which delivers drama-based support to young people struggling to access opportunities due to social and educational disadvantages.

The Awards are organised by the business start-up service, Spark, at the University’s Careers Centre.  Leading the judging panel was serial entrepreneur and University benefactor, Michael Collins of Goldcrest Land plc.

“I was hugely touched by Blooming Buds social enterprise.  It has the ability to reach out and connect with a lot of people in an entertaining way and these types of social enterprises must be supported,” said Mr Collins.

This recognition comes on top of winning another special award in the University’s 2018 Business Plan competition earlier in the year.

The special prize was sponsored by film agency Limehouse. Nick Howard of Limehouse, one of the University’s first Business Plan Competition winners in 2008 – joined this year’s judging panel. He said: “Judging was a brilliant experience, although it was tougher than I thought it would be, because all the students were really informed, their drive and ambition was clear and their business plans were incredibly well thought through.”

“I loved their business,” he said. “It’s rooted in strong social values and Molly and Katie work really hard to make a difference to children from less advantaged backgrounds. Ten years ago, my own business was founded through Spark’s support and I’ve never forgotten how important that belief in my business was, so it’s great to be able to give something back.”

Their latest play ‘Brenda’s Got a Baby’ is a verbatim production based on interviews and focuses on two sisters – Brenda who is 16 and pregnant and Amy who is the first in her family to go to university.

Katie plays the character Amy in the production which is supported by Bradford-based Mind the Gap, Slunglow, Bradford Playhouse and stage@Leeds says: “It gives a voice to the unheard.”

Following performances at stage@leeds on May 30 and Bradford Playhouse on June 7 and 8, Katie and Molly are heading to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to perform their play at ‘space on the north bridge’ for a month.