How Benjamin Land is using Enterprise and SPARK to help young people suffering with mental health issues
‘Prior to university, I had a vision about setting up a retreat centre for mental wellbeing offering a wide variety of activities. I decided to turn thought into action by drawing together a variety of nourishing and supportive activities to form Wellbeing 1st. Mental health is a huge issue and one that affects all of us, in one form or another, either through direct personal experience or through friends and family. I strongly believe that individuals should take responsibility for their own wellbeing by learning strategies to improve and maintain good mental health.’
‘After graduating from Cardiff Business School in July with a First in Business Management, I discussed the idea with friends and lecturers and their response was overwhelmingly positive and supportive. I’ve always been drawn to entrepreneurship and the idea of working for myself, I have excellent organisational and networking skills. I am experienced in customer service from prior employment as airline cabin crew and as assistant manager in a busy high street coffee shop. I am competent in managing a large team of people and exceeding expectations and goals.’
‘In August, I approached Iheanyi at the Enterprise team with the concept. He was willing to approve seed funding and looked to provide office space for the venture. I spent August writing a business case, finding committed yoga and meditation teachers and laying the foundations of a website. I’m currently looking at the best structure for the business to operate as a social enterprise – either a limited company or a community interest company (CIC). I have secured a business incubator office space from October and a website is currently being constructed under the domain name of: wellbeing1st.co.uk/.com.’
‘As the weeks go by, the concept is continuously evolving and being refined. The business requires £10,000 start-up capital to run two or three retreats at a loss and develop its operational capacity. I aim to run the first public retreat in the new year progressing onwards to two retreats a month and looking to break even after the first year of activity.’
‘The retreats will run over a weekend in a lovely part of the Welsh countryside. I am planning to accommodate ten to twelve retreatants per retreat and offer a nourishing framework of activities such as: yoga, meditation, holistic treatments, group work, spending time out in nature and digital detoxing. These are all proven to be highly beneficial to mental health.’
‘Wellbeing 1st will seek to reduce the impact of mental health problems on the NHS by providing young people with tools to support their wellbeing in a non-pharmaceutical manner. It will provide sustainable employment for yoga and other alternative practitioners, furthermore the business will help to support the increasing gap between supply and demand on mental health services. It is my goal that the business will not only be profitable, but will genuinely change the lives of troubled young people for the better.’
‘In six months time, I envisage having Wellbeing 1st as a fully functioning company and competing in the SPARK Entrepreneurship Challenge. Wellbeing 1st will make a positive and meaningful contribution to the Welsh economy and to young people in Wales.’
Benjamin is the first recipient of an Enterprise seed fund and has been taking Wellbeing1st from strength to strength. He hopes to enter into SPARK Venture, the pitching competition for students with established businesses.
SPARK Ideas is now open for students with just a business idea. No business plan needed, just pitch your big idea for a chance to win a share of £1000 investment! Applications close on Sunday 5th November 2017. For more information and how to sign up, click here.
Inspired? Get involved with Cardiff University Enterprise and Start-up!
Do you have entrepreneurial inspirations and aspirations? Cardiff University Enterprise and Start-up could help you realise your full potential in business and entrepreneurship. It’s all about thinking creatively, spotting opportunities, making things happen and developing skills for life. It’s not just about business; it’s about helping you to make the most of yourself.
We run workshops, competitions and sessions to help you develop skills and knowledge. Find out about all our courses and sessions on the intranet, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, with #ideastolife, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Ben Land, Wellbeing1st