Students and graduates win funding at Freelancer Summer School

09 August 2022

Three Leeds Arts University students and graduates have secured funding for their businesses by pitching at the University’s Freelancer Summer School.

The summer school is a week of events, talks and workshops designed to prepare someone for either setting up and running a business, or working as a freelancer. The summer school is open to current students and alumni, whether they want to set up a business or even just assess whether freelancing is for them and get an understanding of what’s involved. Participants can choose to either dip in and out of the workshops and talks, or go through the entire programme.

The week culminates in a pitching event, where students pitch their business idea to a panel to win funding through one of three awards, made possible by the Leeds Arts University Mentorship and Business Support Fund.

This year, first prize was awarded to BA (Hons) Fine Art student Paisley Bingham. Second prize went Access to HE alumni Michaela Lesayova, and third prize was awarded to MA Illustration student Ben Wilkinson.

There are also three Forum Awards that are decided by popular vote among the summer school participants. This year, Paisley Bingley won ‘Most Interesting Ideas’, BA (Hons) Textile Design graduate Holly Greenwood won ‘Most Engaging Delivery’, and Michaela Lesayova won ‘Most Socially Conscious.’

Employability and Enterprise Advisor Abigail Boyes says of the programme: “After a challenging couple of years, it’s been great to get students together in a room again. The programme is very much about learning how to present yourself and talk about your ideas, including how to pitch for funding and other opportunities.

I’ve enjoyed getting to know the students and watching their ideas take shape. As they grow more confident in expressing themselves, you get more of a sense of who they are and what’s important to them.

It feels great to know that they’ll take the skills they’ve learnt and their new found confidence out into the world and make things happen in their careers. “