University of Brighton student Poppy Mosbacher began her business career at the tender age of 13 and seven years later she has collected a top enterprise award.
The first year product design student had just reached her teens when she noticed that popular cosmetics were not quite so 'natural' as advertised.
She said: "Some had ingredients linked to cancer so I decided to make some purely with ingredients that are organic and as natural as possible. I started with workshops and worked towards launching my own products."
Poppy is developing the Natural Beauty Box, a kit to make natural skin care products including hand creams, bath melts and face masks. She trades under the company name L'ocean which fits with her love of surfing: "I wanted products that when washed off don't pollute the sea or harm sea creatures."
Poppy launched her products and opened a shop in her native Devon when she was 18 and now, two years later, she has an online business and holds workshops and demonstrations.
Her efforts were rewarded at the Santander Universities / University of Brighton Enterprise Awards ceremony at the university.
Poppy was joint winner of the Most Innovative Product Award and part of her prize will be in the form of expert advice on developing her website locean.co.uk. Poppy said she would like to see her business expand but added: "This is not about money but other values. Long term, I want to help people start up businesses that are sustainable, eco friendly and that make a difference to the environment."
There were 10 finalists in each of the three awards categories and each collected £250 from Santander and 50 free business cards from moo.com.
The winners, who collected £2,500 from Santander, were:
Most Innovative Product – Poppy Mosbacher and Richard Simmonite for his bagRe:Born product.
Most Entrepreneurial Service Award – Helen Tate, Daniel Elswood and Tremayne Christ for Salamanza, the Social Wine Site.
Most Enterprising Community Project – Elona Hoover, Fredrika Uppman, Tai Ray-Jones, Martin Lines, Tim Warin, Xenia Moseley, Hannah-Rose Whittle, Elea Nouraud, Pippa Smart, Zosia Poulter and Alice Foxen, for their University of Brighton Food Co-op.
Winners and top table guests at the Santander / University of Brighton Enterprise Awards.
Winners also won a website from Mr Site, a roller banner stand and £50 worth of poster printing from Exhibit Printing Ltd (a company founded by a Brighton graduate and past recipients of an Enterprise Award in 2009).
Winners from each specific category also received:
- Most innovative product – Marketest to provide a market research consultation worth £500
- Most entrepreneurial service – MDHUB to provide a year's membership to MDHUB, the premier business club for leading managing directors in the south-east
- Most enterprising community project – UnLtd to provide a mentor to help move the winning project forward.
Santander, through its Santander Universities Global Division, signed an agreement with the University of Brighton in 2008. Since then the bank has funded scholarships, mobility grants, awards and other academic and non-academic activities.