Meet Sophia Roberts who won the 2021 Flare Ignite award for most Scalable Business. Sophia is a budding entrepreneur who aspires to turn her equestrian clothing company into a global brand.
|Current job role||Business Development representative at Cvent and entrepreneur|
|Year of graduation||2020|
|Course of study||BA (Hons) Philosophy with French and Religious Studies|
Sophia Roberts was the big winner at the 2021 Flare Ignite awards, winning the Scalable Business award and taking home £3,500 for her equestrian clothing company. The Scalable Business award supported by Santander Universities UK recognises the entrepreneur with the strongest plan on how they will approach the market and scale quickly.
Flare Ignite is the University’s highly competitive annual enterprise competition giving budding Herts students and alumni the opportunity to access entrepreneurial support and training to bring their business ideas to life.
Designing shapewear for sports women
Sophia’s business, Wisdom Equestrian, is a unique equestrian shapewear brand for women that creates the illusion of an hourglass figure, in a high-performing product that is practical for horse-riding. Sophia says, “I came up with the idea as I’ve always struggled to find equestrian clothing that is flattering, comfortable and practical. After researching the market and seeing the demand for shapewear and apparel to create an hourglass figure in the mainstream fashion and athleisure industry, I noticed a gap in the market for an equestrian shapewear brand that both flatters and functions.”
Gaining enterprise support at Herts
Sophia transferred to Herts in her final year to be closer to home. She says, “The support from the lecturers, passion for their subjects, and drive to engage their students was something I never experienced at my other university, and enabled me to excel in my final year and achieve a First-Class Honours. I couldn’t recommend Herts highly enough, and am so glad I transferred!”
Having already raised £3,000 through grant funding for her business, Sophia then sought enterprise support from Herts and entered the Flare Ignite competition.
“Flare Ignite has helped me with my entrepreneurial journey. Presenting my pitch deck to the judges was the most enjoyable moment of the whole competition, as it enabled me to bring Wisdom Equestrian to life by presenting the product designs and demonstrating its scalability. The £3,500 prize fund will support one of the most critical stages of my business, the final samples. These will be replicated for bulk production and will be used for marketing, securing pre-orders, and presenting my products online and in-store to retailers.”
“The support from the Enterprise team throughout the competition has been invaluable. The advisors challenged me to consider every intricate detail of the business and prove its sustainability and viability. The advice and funding opportunities available through the Enterprise Hub has enabled me to grow my business.
Before joining the University of Hertfordshire, I had raised £3,000 through grant funding and I have now raised £12,000 through winning grant funding competitions. This funding will support all three stages of the sampling process to get my product to market.
The Enterprise Hub has given me the support and advice to be successful in winning internal and external grant competitions, and is an incredible resource for entrepreneurial students and graduates”.
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