Latest Enterprise Placement Year students looking forward to building their businesses

A new cohort of business-savvy De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) students have secured a coveted place on the university’s Enterprise Placement Year.

An alternative to a traditional placement year where students would work with an external company, the Enterprise Placement Year is housed within the university and grants five students the opportunity to start or develop their own businesses through one-to-one mentorship and unrivalled access to the DMU Entrepreneurship team.

Joe Shade is hoping the Enterprise Placement Year will help him develop his business Breakpoint Industries

Fashion Design student, Nayaab Mahomed, Computer Science student, Mark Robinson, Design Crafts student, Kyle James, Fashion Buying and Marketing student Julia Lebosse and Product Design student Joe Shade will start their 12-months with the team from July.

The students will learn business and entrepreneurial skills through guest lectures, workshops and networking opportunities, and also receive a £3,000 cash boost to kickstart their commercial ideas.

For 20-year-old Joe Shade, the placement year is a chance to further explore the potential of his idea in a risk-free environment.  

His business, Breakpoint Industries, designs and creates small and sustainable electronics such as keyboards and speakers that are easy for customers to repair instead of throwing away.

Joe said: “There can be a lot of anti-consumer practices in electronics, including built-in failures and needlessly difficult repairs. I wanted to create a product with a long-lasting lifespan but should it break, customers could easily repair it. I will even include that repair guide with the product.

“I’m not entrepreneurial by nature so having a greater understanding of marketing, logistics and a growing commercial awareness will be hugely beneficial to me.

“Being able to work full-time on the idea, I’m hoping I can turn my idea in to something a little bit more tangible. My goal for the year is to have a product made and for sale.

“I should have a website up – – shortly in the coming weeks, and I plan on keeping a blog to share my experiences on placement year and setting up my own business.”

Now in its fourth year, the Enterprise Placement year has already seen students create digital marketing agencies, lingerie brands, medical tech apps and a vintage clothing company.

Julia 2
Julia Lebosse has turned her passion for trainers into a platform for female designers

Hoping to turn her passion for trainers into a thriving platform for female designers to collaborate on designs and shed light on inequalities within the manufacturing industry, Sneakers by Women is Julia Lebosse’s dream business.

The 20-year-old from Basingstoke has already grown her brand on Instagram, amassing more than 12,000 followers to her page and is hoping to use that momentum to create something more complete.

Julia said: “I have always loved sneakers but growing up and researching the industry, I felt there wasn’t much representation for female designers or the people behind the scenes.

“At first it was just a random idea but I realised it was bigger as I grew my following on social media during lockdown organically. Right now, the business is just an Instagram page, so I want to learn more about event management and possibly become a consultancy to help other women get into the industry.

“Having workshops and more in-person events – perhaps panels or partnerships with brands will help the business grow. I’m looking forward to having that year to invest solely into my business.”

DMU has a strong reputation for developing budding entrepreneurs and this year has been named in the top 10 British universities with the most student and graduate start-ups.

Vikesh Mistry, Enterprise Projects Officer at DMU Entrepreneurship and former student at the university, will be one of the team guiding the new cohort of students.

He said: “The year ahead will be an exciting one for our five students. They will learn about everything from financial planning and marketing strategy to operations management for their own start-up.

“It’s a year where the students’ ambition and creativity are limitless. Success for some may be launching and getting their first customer. For others, it will be hitting five figures for the first time.

“Personally, I am ecstatic to see where the year will take the students and their businesses.”

The DMU Entrepreneurship team runs a number of programmes throughout the academic year for students including its Launchpad initiative aimed at final-year students and recent graduates and its online summer school, which last year boasted more than 500 students from 15 countries.

For more information about how you can apply for the next 2023/24 Enterprise Placement Year, please email:

Posted on Wednesday 22 June 2022

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