5 successful businesses you didn’t know got a head start at Teesside University

Enrol > study > graduate > get a job. It’s the traditional route that a lot of us imagine when we think of beginning our careers after university. But, it’s not the only path.

Some students and graduates want to go their own way and set up a business for themselves. And, at Teesside University, they can do just that through the on-campus incubator, Launchpad.

Its exciting support programmes help promising entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life through training, workshops and funding. And past participants have seen huge growth in the region and beyond.

Here’s some of the successful businesses you didn’t know got their head start at Teesside University…

1. Sunday Girl | Magazine

What was a passion project for a fashion lecturer at Teesside is now an independent magazine, blog, podcast and community celebrating womanhood.

Abigail Dennison set up Sunday Girl as an outlet for ‘intellectual girl talk’ covering fashion, politics and feminism. And, since completing the Launchpad enterprise programme, the team behind the mag has expanded to accommodate the growing number of Sunday Girl readers across the country.

Celebrities including television presenter Laura Whitmore and reality personality Sophie Habboo have featured on the cover of previous issues.

Abigail said: “We want to keep Sunday Girl based in this region, no matter how big it might get.”

2. Wander Films | Content agency

Award-winning production company Wander Films has made waves since it was first dreamed up by partners Chloë and Lou on a trip to Australia.

The pair were successful in their bid for funding from the Launchpad FUEL programme in 2018. Now, Team Wander is made up of more than 20 cool creatives helping companies make an impact with fresh video and podcast content.

As well as all of the accolades which Wander Films has received since its launch, there’s been tonnes of individual success for co-founder Chloë Clover, who was named one of Forbes’ 30 under 30.

She said: “Teesside University has been invaluable to us as we’ve grown. We’re so lucky to have been supported by so many different departments. We were really pushed to be the best we could be.”

3. Dink | Games studio

In just two years, Dink co-founders Oliver and Luke have graduated from Teesside Uni, launched their own games development studio through Launchpad, won an award and worked with the BBC on a children’s TV show.

We started Dink because we love playing and designing video games ourselves, so having this opportunity from Teesside University is amazing,” said Oliver.

The company is part of Launchpad PowerUp, an accelerator programme focusing on gaming, and is based on campus. It received access to a studio, equipment and software, and PR and event support.

4. Tribe Vision | Digital fashion studio

Forward-thinking fashion graduate Harry Tribe launched a creative studio with a difference after completing his degree at Teesside University last year.

Tribe Vision specialises in designing garments digitally using the latest software, which simulates how clothes will look and move on a virtual mannequin. The process is changing the whole industry, reducing manufacturing costs, cutting emissions and even replacing the need for physical fashion shows. 

Once happy with the digital designs on his screen, Harry can share the patterns with clients or produce the pieces himself in his studio, which is based within Teesside University Launchpad.

But, the burgeoning business has already expanded well beyond the walls of the Victoria building. Harry’s designs have featured on a runway in Milan, the fashion capital of the world.

5. Radical Forge | Games studio

Enthusiastic game makers and Teesside graduates Bruce Slater and Freddie Babord founded Radical Forge back in 2016 with support from Launchpad. 

Saying the team has grown since then would be an understatement – there are now more than 70 inventive minds pushing the boundaries of gaming.

As well as collaborating with other studios on projects, Radical Forge creates its own games, the first of which involves solving a murder as a family cat. 

The studio started out in the Launchpad premises before moving into Boho 5 in Middlesbrough.

From a fashion brand to a games studio, these successful businesses are very different. But, they all have one thing in common – they received support from Teesside University Launchpad.

Have a good idea for a business? Looking to expand a side hustle? Find out how Teesside University Launchpad can support you.


Author: Lauren

Since completing her undergraduate studies in Journalism at Teesside University, Lauren has taken on the role of Communications Assistant (Content Production). She knows a thing or two about student life, as she’s currently working towards achieving her master’s degree at the University.

One thought on “5 successful businesses you didn’t know got a head start at Teesside University”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *