PEEQUAL: The 2021 New Enterprise Competition winners- Growth Stage

PEEQUAL co-founders presenting at an event

It has almost been an entire year since Amber Probyn and Hazel McShane, the co-founders of PEEQUAL, won the New Enterprise Competition (NEC) – Growth Stage. We were keen to catch-up with them, to hear all about their success since winning £15,000 in last year’s NEC competition. 

 

Can you summarise what PEEQUAL is? 

PEEQUAL is the UK’s first free-standing women’s urinal, making it quick, safe, and sustainable for women to pee at events.   

Why did you choose to apply for the NEC last year? 

We applied for 3 stages of the NEC and had been supported by the smaller grants given. We saw the impact the grants had on our development so we wanted to apply for the largest grant which we knew could be a catalyst for our business.  

 What did applying to the NEC do for your start-up? 

Winning the NEC meant we were able to invest in building a working prototype which we could test at festivals and events. This was huge as we were able to get feedback from users and customers, gain credibility and traction which helped us go onto raising investment for manufacturing. The exposure of the NEC award also made a big PR splash and we had 3-4 weeks of constant PR which drove customers to us from all over the world. 

What have you done since winning the NEC last year? PEEQUAL at a festival

We have built the working prototype, tested at 5 events over the 2021 summer and iterated the design as we went. We raised £250,000 of equity investment, have started manufacturing the product, employed 4 members of staff not including the founders and have customers lined up to rent to in our first year of trading. 

 What does the future look like for PEEQUAL? 

We intend to scale up internationally in 2023 as we have global demand for PEEQUAL. As well as this, we are thinking of adapting the design to be appropriate in more markets such as fixed sites e.g. shopping centres or to be helpful in the humanitarian relief sector e.g. refugee camps. 

If you want to take your start-up business to the next level, you too can win up to £20,000 of funding and pro-bon support by applying for the New Enterprise Competition – Growth Stage.  The competition is open to final year students and recent graduates. Applications are open now and close on Monday 30 May. 

 

You don’t need a STEM degree for a career in sustainability

 

On 22 April your Careers Service joined with others to mark Earth Day calling on business, government and citizens to invest in our planet. This year the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, issued its ‘bleakest warning yet’ on the impacts of climate breakdown. Like us, you may feel hungry to find out how we can play a role in mitigating this, and address some of  the anxiety about the enormity of the problem.

The good news is that the choices you make in your career are likely to make the greatest contribution overall. There are many ways to do this in a professional sector that is growing  all the time. You don’t need to have studied a science or environment-related subject, either.

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International Womens Day 2022 – 5 stories of women working hard to #breakthebias

“Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias. Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.” – tagline for International Women’s Day 2022

Happy International Women’s Day (IWD)! 

We LOVE hearing your stories, and get to hear so many of them through the various activities and programmes that we run here at the Careers Service; The Bristol PLUS Award, SME internship scheme, Bristol Mentors, New Enterprise Competition and much more.

Today, we are taking the opportunity to highlight and acknowledge a handful of brilliant female students and graduates who have helped to #breakthebias by exemplifying the missions of International Women’s Day through their various projects, start-ups, and volunteering activities. Prepare to be inspired!

IWD mission: To shine a spotlight on activity uplifting and inspiring women to pursue goals without bias or barrier

Arooba Hameed, Year 3 Cancer Biology and Immunology (BSc)

Picture of Arooba
Arooba

Arooba completely embodies this mission and recently won £1000 of funding in the Development Stage of the New Enterprise Competition for the non-profit community group she founded, Higher Education for Asylum Seekers & Refugees (HEAR). HEAR aims to support refugees and asylum seekers in accessing educational opportunities through guidance, training, mentoring & advocacy. (more…)

City Challenge: Student volunteers help to launch Hartcliffe City Farm cut flower farm.

A group of smiling students outdoors at Hartcliffe cut flower farm
The student volunteers and Careers Service Community Engagement Team

For the most recent City Challenge, University of Bristol students helped local organisation Heart of BS13 to come up with ideas to promote the opening of a new cut flower farm, focusing on sustainable growth, soil health, and biodiversity. 

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Get involved in local community outreach!

Students have been engaging with older community groups in Bristol by running a series of showcases and activities at Parkway Methodist Church in St Werberghs on Monday afternoons. Not only are these experiences a great way to give back to the local community, but they also develop planning and presentation skills, and it looks great on a CV!

We caught up with Kayleigh, Katie, Lillian, and Darya to hear about their sessions: (more…)

CPSA Case Study: Sourcing your own SME Internship

As a final year BSc Psychology student, I wanted to use this year to develop my skills and experience so that I would be in a strong position to apply for graduate jobs. After taking a course on drugs and addiction as part of my degree, I realized that I felt passionate about this subject.

Paula Mesia Guevara, Career Peer Support Assistant and Final Year BSc Psychology student

I decided that I wanted to look for an internship in a related role, to help me to decide if I would enjoy working in this field. However, I was not finding many advertised opportunities for the kinds of internships I was interested in.

Through the Careers Service website I learned that students could source their own internships through the university’s SME internship scheme. (more…)

Green Careers Week 2019

It’s mid-February, and you may have noticed that the first daffodils are with us. You may not be aware however that alongside these early green shoots each year also comes our Careers Service Green Careers Week, from 18 to 24 February 2019.

This series of events is designed to help you find out about opportunities in “green” careers such as conservation and sustainability, get advice, and network with a number of different employers.
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What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

CSR

Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR as it is more commonly known, describes the way a company accounts for the impact of its business activities. This includes:

  • Impacts on the environment – use of resources, impacts on climate change
  • Impacts on social needs – poverty, equality, health, promoting strong communities with the resilience to cope with change, support for youth, education, older people
  • Impacts on cultural heritage – the importance of diversity and the protection of the things we value as our heritage.

The CSR definition used by Business for Social Responsibility (http://www.bsr.org/en/) is: ‘operating a business in a manner that meets or exceeds the ethical, legal, commercial and public expectations that society has of business.’

CSR is a top priority for many organisations today and employers increasingly want evidence that potential employees have clear ethics and a good understanding of the role CSR plays within businesses.

“Having strong CSR platforms enables companies to conduct their business in a way that is ethical, whilst taking account of their social, economic and environmental impact. It is important that as potential employees of a company you fully understand the role CSR plays within the business, it’s main purpose in fulfilling their goals and mission and how it is now seen as an important way to increase competitive advantage, protect and raise brand awareness and build trust with customers and employees”.

Martyn Flynn, Talent Acquisition Manager, Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Every organisation interacts with employees, customers, suppliers and stakeholders. CSR is about managing these relationships to produce an overall positive impact on society, whilst making money.

Companies approach CSR in different ways and it’s likely that organisations will have several CSR activities. Many companies start with small projects such as giving money to charity or creating recycling policies because these activities are quick and easy to decide on and implement. The Green Impact scheme developed at Bristol is a good example of this: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/environment/green_impact.  Ideally, organisations will move towards CSR strategies that focus on truly adding value for the business and society.

Below are a few examples of what real businesses are doing to address CSR:

Having knowledge of CSR is now part of the Bristol PLuS Outstanding Award requirments. Find out more on the Bristol PLuS Award webpages: http://www.bris.ac.uk/careers/plusaward/Index.asp

Jenny Smith, Bristol PLuS Award Coordinator