University of Chester students win two UK enterprise awards and showcase business to The Princess Royal

University of Chester students have won two awards and showcased their carbon-cutting venture to HRH The Princess Royal in a UK competition championing young entrepreneurs who are leading the way with their enterprise and innovation.

Representing the North-West, students from the University’s Business School were recognised at the Young Enterprise (YE) UK Start-Up Final.

The team was presented with the award for Best Pitch Deck and team member Eleanor Jones was awarded the title of Student Entrepreneur of the Year. The Pitch Deck award was presented after the students submitted their business plan in advance, and took part in the pitching competition on the day. The Student Entrepreneur award is given to a student who has developed significantly as a result of the start-up journey.

They were the first of the 15 teams from across Britain to speak to Anne, Princess Royal, who showed great interest in their eco-friendly business, A Wild Life. The business offers seeded cardboard boxes, as a more sustainable way to package goods. Consumers can plant the packaging which is integrated with flower or vegetable seeds.

She spoke to each member of the business: Eleanor Jones; Josh Sellings; Aaron Jones; Demi Evans, and Jade McArdle, who provided an overview of their product and business journey.

The students are currently in the second year of their undergraduate degree studies in Business Management, International Business Management and Events Management at Chester Business School. They developed the idea as part of the Entrepreneurial Thought in Action module which is one of the ways students are supported to start their own business and learn the skills of new enterprise management.

Jade McArdle, Managing Director of A Wild Life, said: “Our young enterprise journey has been incredible. It has taught me so many personal and professional skills that I can take forward with me. Meeting HRH Princess Anne and explaining our business to her was an amazing experience that I am very proud of.”

Josh Sellings added: “To share this entrepreneurial journey with this amazing team has been an absolute pleasure and I have thoroughly enjoyed this experience. This journey has taught me so much about myself and improved all aspects of my character while improving my business knowledge and experience. I can't wait to be a part of what A Wild Life does next."

Dr Connie Hancock, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Management at Chester Business School said: “Our enterprise students did an outstanding job of representing the Business School in the UK Start-Up Final; coming out with two awards is tremendous.

“The Princess Royal herself was impressed by their business idea and came straight over to their trade stand when she arrived at the venue. The students have worked tirelessly on their business, and I am extremely proud of all of them.”

Lecturer and Joint Leader of the Entrepreneurial Thought in Action Module, Cheryl Sorensen shared more on what the recognition means: “We are extremely proud that A Wild Life won Best Pitch Deck during the Young Enterprise national final. Winning this award is a testament to the team’s hard work, dedication, and unwavering commitment to A Wild Life and everything that it stands for. It is an honour for us to be able to support this business and its student founders. Alongside this, Eleanor’s win is an amazing and well-deserved achievement, as her resilience and motivation as an entrepreneur are outstanding.”

Conor Dangerfield, Lecturer and Joint Module Leader, added: “This achievement is not only a win for A Wild Life, but also for our module, Entrepreneurial Thought and Action. It demonstrates the high quality that our amazing students strive to achieve and the results that can come from hard work, dedication, and a supportive entrepreneurial network, which is incredible at Chester Business School.

“We would like to express our gratitude to Suzanne Lockwood, the judges, and organisers of Young Enterprise, as well as our wider faculty, for their support and encouragement. The awards are a celebration of collective efforts, and we look forward to what comes next.”

The YE UK Start-Up Final was held at the University of Salford earlier this month and welcomed student entrepreneurs from across the UK to pitch their business to a panel of respected judges from organisations including The Marketing Trust and The Institute of Leadership and Management. High profile guests also included the Civic Mayor of Salford and the Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester.

Supporting the Chester students at the event were: Dr Connie Hancock; Cheryl Sorensen; Conor Dangerfield; Enterprise Tutors Athalia Dangerfield and Andy Firr, as well as Student Rep, Piyush Choudhari.

This year’s Start-Up Final coincides with the 60th anniversary of YE, a national financial and enterprise education charity that motivates young people to succeed in the changing world of work by equipping them with the skills, knowledge and confidence they need. For more information on YE, please visit:

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