Why I applied to the New Enterprise Competition – Development stage


The New Enterprise Competition – Development stage is now open for applications. This stage offers up to £1,000 in funding to go towards your start-up business, charity or social enterprise.

The competition is open to students and recent graduates who have a start-up which they have researched, wish to develop and want to take to the next level.

Megan Matthews, a recent graduate with an MA in Music and one of last year’s winners, won £1,000 for her start-up MeganHMakes. We caught up with Megan to find out more.

Tell us about your start-up 

Megan is holding up a bag filled with Hobby craft purchases
Photo by meganhmakes from Instagram

MeganHMakes is a handmade crochet brand, specialising in made-to-measure cardigans but my products range from earrings to plushies.

Everything is handmade and designed by me. This is to aid the consumer to move away from fast fashion and build a relationship with the person who is making their clothes. The brand is continually growing, working with brands; such as Hobbycraft on advertisements, building a community of crocheters and developing a ‘Happy Makes’ magazine to show the positive effects of crocheting on mental health. 

Have you always been interested in entrepreneurship? What inspired you to get into it? 

I am a classically trained musician and have a recently completed an MA in music, so the answer is no! However, I am innately creative and when I began to delve more into a hobby I loved, it progressed naturally. My following came from Instagram, where I have a 24,000 following, and brands began to reach out to me.  

The building of a community and networking with other crafting brands that I was passionate about inspired me to build and establish my own brand.  

Why did you apply to the New Enterprise Competition Development stage? 

I applied for the Development stage as I think it is a fantastic opportunity for students with a business who have not pitched and communicated their ideas before. This is a vital part of running a business. You need to inspire others to love your product and this is a great step after you have begun to establish your business.  

What did the competition funding mean for your start-up? How did you spend it? 

The competition funding was firstly a huge confidence boost as so far; I had funded everything myself. I had been making a profit, but it wasn’t very steady and needed that extra boost!  

I spent the money on an iPad and an Apple pencil, which I use for all my designing, business plan, spreadsheets- and to pack orders. It has made my business more efficient, and saves me time, which are both fundamental to a growing sustainable business.  

What advice would you give to fellow student founders like yourself? 

  1. Be confident and passionate about your business and remember, above everything, the one thing that makes your business special and different from everyone else is you. 
  1. Showcase yourself on social media and demonstrate how you are the face of the company. 
  1. Finally, put the time into social media; when you have an online community that backs you, it really helps you to back yourself! 

Check out MeganHMakes Etsy store– just in time for Christmas!

Get involved! 

Whatever you study, and whatever your business venture, if you have a start-up you would like to test out and want a chance of winning up to £1,000 in funding, apply now! Applications for the Development stage of the New Enterprise Competition close on Tuesday 1 February 2022. New Enterprise Competition

The Basecamp Enterprise Team support all start-ups at each level. Find out more about what the team can offer.