Colombian born Laura Diaz opted for the new venture initiative elective in the Bachelor of Business (Hons) and is developing her handcrafted jewellery
As part of her studies, third year Bachelor of Business (Hons) student at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), Laura Diaz, got the opportunity to resurrect a jewellery business she had ran before she moved to Ireland.
Laura, who is originally from Bogota Colombia, moved to Ireland four years ago and shortly after, completed the FETAC level 6 Advanced Certificate in Business and then enrolled in the Bachelor of Business degree at WIT.
Laura graduated from Waterford College of Further Education (WCFE) with the FETAC level 6 certificate and through WIT’s agreement with WCFE, Laura was able to make an advanced entry into the Bachelor of Business year 2.
WIT offer students an elective in their third year of the Business course, which allows them to choose from a number of study choices, such as; studying abroad, taking part in work placement, working in a college or community setting or a new venture initiative (NVI).
Laura took the opportunity to take part in the new venture initiative, as she had began her own business, Shell Pearl Jewellery in Colombia six years ago.
“I have an entrepreneur background and to re-start my jewellery business here in Ireland was something that I really wanted to do but I did not know how to do it, and so the NVI has been the right elective for me to try out this idea in a safe and controlled environment while enjoying the mentoring and support that comes within the NVI.”
When taking part in the new venture initiative in WIT, students set up and run their own business during the semester. Each student is provided with professional mentoring from the experienced business community in the areas of planning, marketing and selling, finance and IT.
Every Thursday and Friday for the past number of months, Laura set up her stall in the WIT main campus, where she sells her handcrafted jewellery and says the benefits are endless since taking part in the new venture initiative.
With the college quietening down for the summer holidays, Laura makes an appearance and sets up shop every Thursday in the main campus.
“I have learnt to listen to the customers, sometimes you wonder what could you do to target consumers but many times they are telling you what they want or what they would like. I have had the opportunity to learn about customers’ tastes and wants, consumers’ behaviour and psychology. I really appreciate this because in my country we have a different way to do business. The NVI has been a valuable learning process that is giving me the confidence and the selling skills I need to have if I decide to continue with this business in the long term.”
Next on the cards for Laura is obtaining her provisional trading licence, so she can sell her produce at market stalls and festivals throughout the country, this summer.
“The experience I have gained through the new venture initiative is invaluable. Next year is my last year in WIT and I won’t have the time to sell face to face, therefore I will set up a website, because I want Shell Pearl Jewellery to grow and gain recognition in the handcrafted jewellery market.”
What is the Bachelor of Business (Hons)?
This four-year fulltime course offers you a broad range of business skills combined with a thorough knowledge of the financial and economic environment in which firms operate. On graduation, you will have developed personal and professional skills which will give you the confidence to start a successful business career, in Ireland or overseas. The Bachelor of Business (Hons) is the ideal course of study if you are interested in business. The course is extremely flexible, giving you a broad understanding of a range of business disciplines in the first two years while allowing you to specialise and get a greater understanding of the area of most interest to you in the final two years.
The second semester in Year 3 is the Flexible Semester. This is an exciting feature of the Bachelor of Business (Hons) degree programme where you will be given an opportunity to study abroad, undertake work placement, create a new venture initiative or gain experience in teaching for a semester. This flexible semester facilitates the development of skills beneficial to your future career endeavours. During the flexible semester students can choose between Study Abroad, Work Placement, New Venture Initiative and College & Community.