New start-ups begin to forge their future with Crucible

Ten new start-up companies have begun their entrepreneurial journeys with Crucible, De Montfort University Leicester (DMU)’s award-winning business incubator.

Crucible takes final year students, graduates, and alumni through a 12-month programme to develop their business ideas, support them with product development and market testing as well as helping build their networks, working in partnership with local business organisations.

 Crucible 2022 pic
Every week they get 1-1 mentoring and support, and once a month have courses with industry experts leading workshops and masterclasses on finance, growing a business, customer development, branding, copywriting and more, with personalised sessions available for more in-depth work.

This year saw a record 29 applications to the programme and the selected 10 start-ups are developing innovative ideas in industries including fashion, photography, crafts, and consumer tech. For the first time, DMU staff with a business idea or who already have a part-time business can also join in the monthly masterclasses and get support.

Crucible is run by senior enterprise lecturer Percy Emmett, director of MBA Programmes at DMU’s Faculty of Business and Law. He said: “I’m really excited by the ideas that our newest members have and we are looking forward to working with them.

“Our philosophy at Crucible is to focus not just on the business idea, however, but on developing the resilience and confidence of our emerging entrepreneurs, expand their business networks and develop their skill set. They are all so passionate about their business ideas, I am looking forward to seeing them fly.”

Some 85% of businesses launched through Crucible over the past five years are still in business.

The new businesses that are starting on the Crucible are:
•    Snowball, a community app founded by DMU alumni Simon Sansome. It rates disabled access across UK and the world
•    Little Legends Club, founded by Bianca Maloy, a children’s clothing company where the children are the designers
•    Noelle, created by Eliza McCann, which produces sustainable and ethical loungewear
•    Belinda King Glass, glassware design from DMU graduate and former Artist-in-Residence Belinda King
•    Stone Visuals, run by DMU graduate Matt Stone who specialises in sports photography
•    Matkewalli, a ceramics design company run by Parneet Pahwa, a former Artist in Residence at DMU and Design Crafts graduate
•    Lingerie company Venus Rose, run by lingerie designer Rose James aimed at women with a fuller figure
•    ID8 Illuminate, run by DMU alumna Marie Moyles to create sculptural lighting designs
•    Bindi Red, an ethical heritage jewellery range from designer Pratibha Jevan
•    Disha Lulla Design, a bridalwear design company from DMU graduate Disha

The latest Crucible community kicked off with a three-day bootcamp where they all had a chance to meet each other, find out about their businesses and the programme.

Eliza McCann set up ethical clothing company Noelle and is passionate about sustainability and transparency. She said: “I’m looking forward to being part of Crucible.”

Bianca Maloy, Little Legends Club, said: “It’s children’s clothing that is designed by children and their own work, instead of what normally happens, which is they get cookie cutter outfits that are based on adult ranges. I’m excited to be part of the Crucible, and meeting everyone and hearing their ideas is inspiring.”

“For me, Crucible gives me the chance to expand my network and work on my business alongside everyone else,” said photographer Matt.

Ceramicist Parnett said: “There’s been so much to take in but it’s really exciting. I can’t wait to get started.”

Posted on Thursday 20th October 2022

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