Josephine Canning

Geology student Josephine Canning creates bold textile designs inspired by geological structures.

After taking part in  the University’s Year in Enterprise programme, she is taking a year out of her degree studies to set up and run her own business, supported by the University’s business start-up service, Spark. She plans to then return to complete her degree in the Faculty of Environment.

The University is a pioneer of the Year in Enterprise programme in the UK. It gives students the chance to get a foothold in business, offering office space, specialist training, mentoring and networking. They also get professional business advice from staff at The Centre for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Studies (CEES) and additional support from Spark, the University’s business start-up service.  Each student also receives a £5,000 grant, funded by a local business, University alumni, or a private donor to support them during the year.

Josephine has networked with CEES’ Enterprise Ambassadors at various stages of her business journey. She also works closely with her academic supervisor on her portfolio -  an opportunity to creatively capture her experience of business start-up across her Year in Enterprise.

Josephine said: “Once I had refined my business idea, I put so much time into my application and business plan, making sure the judges could see my entrepreneurial spirit. As a Year in Enterprise student, I’m in an environment where everyone wants me to succeed. This makes the whole process much less isolating and gives it a real social aspect.”

The programme helped Josephine attend a Global Entrepreneurship Camp in South Korea. The intensive two week educational and leadership camp brought together entrepreneurs from around the world. It was an opportunity to be exposed to new cultures and perspectives, to exchange and share ideas with other participants.

Josephine said: “It was a very special experience to meet so many enthusiastic and like-minded people, from all backgrounds, and to interact so closely with their speakers and mentors.
“I knew I had so much to learn and it helped me structure my ideas and focus on what my next steps needed to be once I returned home.”

She also won a £3,000 University of Leeds Enterprise Scholarship, which is funded by University alumni. The additional funding has helped Josephine develop her website and explore other marketing tools, research exhibiting opportunities and source external business and manufacturing partners.

She said: “This scholarship has really boosted my knowledge and confidence and has helped me build skills that I will use, not only in my future studies, but as I leave the University of Leeds and further my career. The University has invested in me personally and I have had such an amazing experience.  I’m very grateful for all their support.”

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