Graduation from university can prove to be an intimidating time for many students as they seek to forge new career paths for themselves, a process made all the more difficult by tight labour market conditions that have seen many graduates face severe under-employment on leaving education.
Whilst most look to the jobs market to secure their first steps on the employment ladder, one daring Cardiff-based duo have sort to take their futures into their own hands with the announcement that they are to launch their award-winning business concept UniNights – a user-friendly hub for the latest events that is targeted towards the lucrative market of student nightlife in the Welsh capital – ahead of the new Freshers season.
I caught up with James Ward, co-founder of this innovative new app, in a bustling Cardiff city-centre coffee shop to learn about their story and talk about what the future holds for UniNights.
With our drinks in hand and the initial pleasantries out of the way, Ward was quick to get down to business matters and tell me about their concept – the passion that he and the team have for their concept immediate to see:
“UniNights is an exciting new nightlife directory to the best nights out in town, and is a concept that we have developed over our time in university that is designed to showcase all the latest student events to the masses in a unique and user friendly platform.
“Throughout the process of developing the product, we have always tried to stay true to our core beliefs – to be simple and convenient and to have the user at the heart of everything we do.”
The duo overcame intense competition from an exhaustive list of contestants to be crowned winners of the 2016 Events International Group competition MyEvent.Vision – a gruelling competition that sees entrants engage in a Dragon’s Den style pitch of their concept in front of leading industry figures.
The launch of UniNights is testament to years of extensive conceptualising, planning and implementing from the enterprising duo, as Ward put it:
“UniNights was first thought of in 2014 by myself and my business partner, Nick Snowdon. We were both students at Cardiff Metropolitan University and have now come to the end of our studies.
“In 2015 we were given the fantastic opportunity to put our idea forward into the industry leading national events competition MyEvent.Vision and after many hours of blood, sweat and tears alongside many sleepless nights we were announced as the winners of the competition in 2016.”
The newly-graduated partners may be fresh to industry but they’re certainly not daunted by the task ahead, with Ward telling me:
“We know that starting up your own business isn’t that common a first step when you’re straight out of university but we truly felt that the opportunity to take a chance on something we passionately believed in and to be our own bosses was worth taking,
“We have a great team and our confidence has continued to grow thanks to the fantastic support network that we have around us.”
The project’s commercial viability has been boosted by the addition of Tom Shorey to their operations, who is now serving as UniNights Ltd’s Commercial Director.
Ward and Snowdon were introduced to Shorey off the back of their competition success, so impressed was the Cardiff-based entrepreneur in their vision that he has bought into making a success of the project.
The hand of experience that he is set to add the tiller will undoubtedly prove invaluable as they begin to undertake the hard work of building their audience.
With industry backing for their concept, the team are now eagerly looking towards the future, with Ward adding:
“2017 has seen the birth of the website and we are now ready to launch UniNights for the upcoming Freshers in September. Our dream is now becoming a reality and we are extremely excited to welcome aboard our new business partners and are thankful to all those that have helped us on our journey up to this point.”
The journey into industry may have only just started for this entrepreneurial duo, however, exciting times undoubtedly lie ahead for them and the rest of the UniNights team.
To learn more about the UniNights project, you can check out their website here https://www.uni-nights.com/