Student discusses exciting new business programme

Business Management student Sophie Cleaver tells us why she has signed up to the STEAM Hatchery programme, a new initiative that offers BCU third-year students the chance to earn part of a £10,000 prize fund and turn their business idea into a reality.

Posted 03 May 2022

Students crafting a business plan.

Unique university support

With experience in sales and retail, as well as a role in BCU’s Graduate+ office, behind her, Sophie has harboured ambitions to launch her own business for a number of years.

“I hope to build my own digital handmade business. I began creating my own wax melts during the first lockdown in 2020. What began as a hobby has turned into a real desire to turn it into a business,” Sophie explains.

Sophie now has the opportunity to pursue this opportunity thanks to the STEAM Hatchery programme.

The Hatchery begins on Tuesday 7 June and runs for ten weeks, offering students and graduates the opportunity to earn part of a £10,000 prize fund, as well as access to expert support and superb facilities.

Over the course of ten weeks, participants will be mentored by leading business experts and will learn vital skills in budgeting, marketing and presenting. Participants will then have to submit a detailed business plan and present to a panel of judges.

“I have not seen any other universities offer this kind of business support,” Sophie enthuses. “I feel it is important for university students to have the opportunity to receive support from their university to turn their ideas and ambitions into a reality outside of receiving their degree.”

Sophie is especially looking forward to working in the new STEAMhouse building.

“I am very much looking forward to getting to work in the new facilities, in creative surroundings with other entrepreneurs,” she explains.

“I feel that I would find the new modern, contemporary interior of the beautiful traditional exterior really motivating and I feel lucky to be a part of this programme.”

An amazing atmosphere

Sophie has dreamed of running her own business for some time, which led her to choosing BCU’s Business Management degree. It has proven to be the right decision.

“I love the atmosphere at BCU, being surrounded by people who want to learn and connect,” she says. “My experience has been great. The University has connected me with some of the best tutors I have ever had.”

For the future, Sophie hopes to sell her wax melt creations online and bring to life her environmentally friendly, accessible alternatives to candles.

Sophie is one of nearly 100 students already signed up to the Hatchery, a group that combines both third-year students and recent graduates. Another participant, graduate Helena Hunt, is hoping to launch her own illustration brand.

Incredible support

Sophie urges other third-year students to get involved in this unique programme.

“It is so unusual to find this kind of free support at university level,” she beams.

“There is so much to learn about yourself when you start a business. I know that my professional network and personal skills will both benefit from being surrounded by the likeminded, incredibly supportive people in STEAMhouse.”

Interested in finding out more about the STEAM Hatchery programme? To access further details, contact Richard Scutt at