University graduates working together in new business venture
Two University of Wolverhampton business management graduates have started their own company which is the UK’s first digital marketplace dedicated to corrugated cardboard packaging, after joining the University’s business support programme SPEED.
The two Black Country graduates, Tom Burden, 26, and Axl Barber, 25, met on the BA Business Management with Sandwich Placement and during their studies they would share their aspirations to become entrepreneurs.
Alongside his studies, Tom, from Walsall, was working as a machine operator at a corrugated cardboard packaging company. He was offered a sales and marketing position for his sandwich placement and Tom started to learn about the complexities of the industry.
He said: “Before I started, I thought a cardboard box was simply a cardboard box. But there are so many factors that must be considered when choosing the right packaging for your product. These factors can have a significant impact on quality and cost.”
After realising many buyers and companies didn’t always have a solid understanding of these factors, it was apparent there was an opportunity to help out and ensure companies were buying the right packaging for their business and not overspending.
It was here that the idea behind RightBox was planted, the UK’s first digital marketplace aimed at corrugated cardboard packaging.
“RightBox is designed to make it quicker, easier and cheap for businesses to buy cardboard boxes and connect with established suppliers. At a time where many businesses are making cutbacks and looking to reduce costs, we are offering a completely free service to generate vital cost savings on packaging,” Tom added.
Axl, from Wolverhampton, finished his studies in 2019, but as Tom had joined the programme four months later in January, he graduated earlier this year. Following the completion of their studies, the two graduates applied for the University’s SPEED programme, which helps students start a business. The programme helped pay towards their start-up costs, such as their website, as well as enable the pair to have consultancy sessions with a business mentor.
Axl said: “The support we have received from the University has been second to none and the opportunities have helped developed me professionally. From helping me secure a placement in Malta, where I developed key sales and business acumen while working as a business consultant, to mentoring schemes. I cannot thank the University enough.
“I look forward to applying what I learnt at university and building RightBox with Tom.”
Tom added: “The support I have received during my four years has been fantastic. Attending university has put me in great stead.
“Of course, it helps develop academic skills, but it really is so much more than that. I’ve had the chance to work on various projects where I met some great people; none more so than Axl who is now a business partner and I’m really excited about building and developing RightBox with him.”
The two graduates are hoping to inspire others who may be in their final year and are anxious about finding graduate jobs. Tom said: “We know how difficult this year has been and the impact it has had on all aspects of life, including the job market.
“We don’t want to encourage people to not feel discouraged about the lack of opportunities.”
Axl added: “We want to share our story to ignite positivity in the local area and show that with hard work and focus you can create your own opportunities.”
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