March 11, 2014, by Beth Dawson

Our Entrepreneurial Grant winner, one year on…

By Alex Huntley, MSci Human Genetics, Year 2AlexHuntleyInterview2

Our Entrepreneurial Grant has helped many students to launch their own businesses, such as 2MagpiesTheatre and Worldwide Vets.

A year ago Alex Huntley won £1000 through the grant – we discover how his business, Warploque Miniatures, benefited from the funding, what it was like to apply for a grant and where he is now. 

So, it’s a year ago since you were awarded the Entrepreneurial Grant, how’s your business doing?

My business is going fantastically! I launched a Kickstarter campaign in August to raise funds for my war game, ArcWorlde, and it was a resounding world-wide success. With the money I raised through that, I have been able to fund the production of over 150 individual sculptures, as well as produce my very own book which I plan to publish later on in the year. My game’s rules are currently in production and the miniatures are being manufactured as you read this. It’s all rather exciting and I can’t wait to see what’s to come!

Why did the grant appeal to you?

As every student knows, money is tight at university: it takes a thrifty mind just to pay for accommodation and food when living off a student loan, let alone having anything left over to start a business! Every venture needs an initial pot of cash to really get the project going and it was the opportunity to earn that first attracted me to the Entrepreneurial Grant. I thought it would give me the help I needed to take those first steps – and it did!

How has winning the grant helped you and your business?

The grant, which I was awarded, allowed me to prepare my game, ArcWorlde, for the Kickstarter campaign I launched in August. Because of the money I had, I could afford to present my work in a much more professional manner and make sure a good amount of it was ready before the Kickstarter project had even begun. This really helped to boost the effectiveness of my campaign, to the extent that I ended up earning ten times what I originally asked for!

How did you spend your £1000?

I spent it on the manufacture of my pre-Kickstarter miniatures, as well as hiring professional painters to prepare those models. This meant that the potential customer could see a finished product, rather than concepts or prototypes.

What did you learn from the application process?

Before I applied for the grant, I had never had to consider the financial details of running a business. I have been an artist for years, but I had always thought of it as a more of a hobby than a potential career. The application process made me think about my work in a much more academic fashion – my target market, budget and future plans. This has helped me to mould my business plan more effectively.

Did applying for the grant interfere with your studies?

Not at all! Even though I study human genetics, a very time-consuming and intense course, I had more than enough time to prepare my application and presentation. When you’re passionate about something, you get it done no matter what!

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of applying for the grant?

I would say to anyone who is even considering the grant – do it! Even if you only have an idea of your plan. The application process will make you consider it in a much deeper way, and it potentially gives you a much needed helping hand. Not only that, you get to meet and talk to so many like-minded people, who help inspire you in your efforts. Just do it!

Any other gems of wisdom you’d like to share?

Never forget the power of the waistcoat. Especially if it has the name of your business on the back! (Alex’s presentation outfit certainly helped him to stand out in his Entrepreneurial Grant presentation!)

Do you have a business idea? Visit our website to find out more about the Entrepreneurial Grant and how to apply. Be sure to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for further announcements about entrepreneurial opportunities.  

Posted in EntrepreneurshipPostgraduate Taught Students