Kyle Clarke, a student at Newcastle University, has earned himself a sought-after summer internship at Enterprise Rent-a-Car by becoming the latest winner in the Real World Graduate of the Year Awards.
During his time at Newcastle Kyle has started no less than three new businesses, inspired, he says, by an excellent Business Enterprise Module which he took in his second year. The course gave him ‘support and practical advice from people who have been through the motions involved with business start-up,’ he explains. ‘I would urge anyone who gets the opportunity to take the module to grab it with both hands.’
Kyle’s impressive range of entrepreneurial projects has expanded to include the student lettings market, and a free magazine, The Know How, aimed at tourists in Dorset. However, his first, and most successful business is Consult Connect – a company that helps firms tap into the student market through carefully targeted promotions and research.
So how does he fit all this hard work around his studies? ‘Before starting my degree I had a full two years working and travelling around the world. When I flew back to the UK 2 days before term started, I was fresh from living in New Zealand where I had been working more than 70 hours a week! My 11-hour university timetable wasn’t quite so demanding. I was able to devote a lot of time to Consult Connect – the real difficulty was accepting the countless rejections when pitching for contracts. Also, the beauty of working for yourself is that your commitments are 100% self-managed. University workload increases tenfold towards the end of term, and managing your own work commitments allows for the extra time needed in these periods.’
Kyle is now midway through his internship with Enterprise, which he says ‘has exceeded all expectations. We really do get thrown in at the deep end, yet there is a formal programme in place to map our progression with the firm and ensure we are trained appropriately.’ He will be picking up his award at our ceremony on the 16th September.
Does he have any advice for other budding student entrepreneurs? ‘Everyone should pursue their interests and discover new ones. I’ve discovered a passion for business and I’m using the resources and contacts the university has as much as possible. Whatever your passion university is the time to meet like-minded people and pursue it with vigour. It can often be far too tempting to sleep a ridiculous amount of time rather than go out and make the most of what’s on offer, but we’ve got a long retirement to sleep through!’