An enterprising business student has been named the Most Entrepreneurial Student of the Year 2021 in the North West.
Liam Boyle, 24, from Holywell in Flintshire, is currently in his second year of a degree in International Business Management.
Liam’s business idea, Pop-a-Drops, was one of two finalists to be selected from the University to take part in an online event, organised by the Young Enterprise Northwest Inter University Student Start Up Pitching Competition.
He developed his idea to create vitamin drops with his business partner and fellow student Julia Dudnik, along with expert advice from the University’s NoWFOOD Centre, which is based at the Exton Park site on Parkgate Road in Chester.
He said: “I came up with the idea of Pop-a-Drops during the first lockdown in response to the growing health consciousness of consumers due to the pandemic. I soon came to realise that I didn’t have the means to make the business idea a reality and it was only by contacting the University’s NoWFOOD facility we were able to turn our ideas into reality.
“By teaming up with the top food scientists and experts at the NoWFOOD food manufacturing facility we were able to make these high quality and great tasting vitamin drops. I wouldn’t have even pursued this business idea if it hadn’t been for Professor Connie Hancock’s inspirational Entrepreneurial Thought and Action course, as we were required to start and run a business – and without it, I wouldn’t have felt the necessary drive to act.
“It feels great to win this award, as it symbolises all the effort that I have put into my studies and that other people have noticed my commitment. Next year, I plan to take an enterprise development year, as part of my four-year degree programme. This is so I can devote a year to building Pop-a-Drops, whilst also enhancing my degree. After that, if all goes well, I plan to continue growing the business after University.”
Dr Connie Hancock, Associate Professor, Head of Department for Business and Finance, said: “This is an outstanding achievement. As part of his Business Management Degree Programme Liam was introduced to the range of support available across the University, including the NoWFOOD Centre. He worked diligently throughout lockdown on his start-up journey and the development of his product ‘Pop-a-Drops’. He has received investment from a number of external sources to progress his business.
“An amazing ambassador for the Business School, Liam demonstrates just what can be achieved by a second year undergraduate during a period of lockdown. He thoroughly deserves this accolade and as his tutor I’m very proud of him.”
Young Enterprise is a national charity which motivates young people to succeed in the changing world of work by equipping them with the work skills, knowledge and confidence they need. For further information on the charity and the Student Start Up Pitching Competition, recognising business achievements and the personal development of participants, please visit: www.young-enterprise.org.uk.