Over 20 students from School of Design and Creative Arts took part in bespoke online events in a pilot programme that launched in December 2020.
The programme included a range of learning techniques to excite our budding freelancers and help them to build sustainable foundations for their businesses. Through a weekly online course, they learned about initial steps to get started. Sessions included how to do market research, establishing unique selling points, learning from failure, and an introduction to legalities and tax returns.
Hayley Jones, Student Enterprise Adviser, said:“Starting a freelance career can be a lonely journey and it can be difficult to know where to begin. With many students wanting to turn their passion into a business, the freelancer programme is the perfect opportunity to learn what it takes with the support of experts, mentors, and other freelancers. Joining a support programme like this helps our entrepreneurs not only to learn but to network and build an ongoing community of support to help them succeed.”
Alumna Emma Britton (Printed Textiles 2008), who set up her own business in 2010 with support from the Loughborough Enterprise Network, was able to join as our keynote speaker at the launch event. The enterprise community at Loughborough is very strong, and in total 21 experienced entrepreneurs were on hand throughout the programme to offer their support via mentoring sessions and through three panel events that took place in January and February.
Emma Britton, Decorative Glass Designer, said: “It was such a pleasure to share my experience of self-employment and help teach them to value their work and skillset. I have learned so much setting up and running my own business and it means so much to be able to share that with students on the freelancer programme and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurial talent.”
Beth McGlynn, a postgraduate master’s student in Graphic Design and Visualisation, added how valuable it was to connect with experienced freelancers: “I loved the freelancer programme. The workshops gave a wide range of advice and speaking to current freelancers gave us insight into how you can be a successful freelancer. The mentoring side of the freelancer programme was really valuable as it gave me industry knowledge. I would definitely recommend it to anyone thinking about freelancing!”
Loughborough Enterprise Network (LEN) is now working to review the programme ahead of plans to expand it to more students next academic year. If you are a student or a recent graduate (within 2 years) and interested in being part of the programme to learn about freelancing, please register your interest here.
If you already have experience of setting up and working as a freelancer, and could offer your wisdom and support to the next cohort of freelancers, please let us know via email: LEN@lboro.ac.uk.
We encourage all our entrepreneurial student and graduates to join our LEN LinkedIn Group which is a place to share experience, network, see the latest opportunities and celebrate LEN success.