College course inspires creative duo to launch businesses

Two talented IT students have launched their own businesses within Europe’s biggest shopping centre, thanks to Gateshead College.

Creative duo Adam Coates and Amanda Norman stood out to judges during a special design and branding project run by Gateshead College, and have now been chosen to sell their products at the college’s handPICKED store in intu Metrocentre.

The project also saw local business owner, Leon Brewerton, director of printers Hip & Square, team up with the college to provide specialist design and industry advice and support to the students during the project and competition.

The judging panel, made up of Leon, handPICKED manager Julie Patterson and entrepreneurial activity coordinator at Gateshead College Shelley Raine, chose Amanda’s ‘100% Geordie’ and red kite bird designs to be used on mugs and keyrings

Amanda, who is 18 and from Whickham said: “This project really inspired me to start my own business. It’s given me the opportunity to learn from local experts about design and business as well as encouraged my creativity by allowing us choose and develop our own ideas and designs.

“Thanks to my course at Gateshead College and projects like this I have gained a lot of valuable experience to build my ability in graphics and design, which has really paid off because I now have the opportunity to sell my own products in the handPICKED store.

“The store gives students the chance to start their own businesses and I look forward to making the most of this opportunity and launching my products and career.”

Adam also developed a local theme for his designs, using the word ‘Tyne’ and striking illustrations of landmarks from the riverside as well as the iconic Angel of the North.

The students were able to launch their businesses thanks to a small start-up loan from Gateshead College which students pay back in manageable instalments with any profits used to further develop their products and business.

Judith Doyle, principal at Gateshead College said: “handPICKED gives our enterprising students the chance to test and market their products so that they can develop their business skills and create successful start-ups.

Adam and Amanda are already on track to develop successful businesses thanks to the advice and encouragement they have received at college. They are excellent examples of what can be achieved with a good idea and the right support network and professional guidance.”

Gateshead College developed its partnership with intu to provide enterprise and retail opportunities for its students. The handPICKED store also builds on activity generated by Gateshead College’s Northern Stars enterprise society, which gives students the chance to discuss their business ideas with established business mentors and sell their products to staff and students within the college.