On Wednesday 14 November, a group of Notre Dame students who are part of our Future Media programme visited Platform in Leeds.
Platform is one of the country’s most innovative digital business spaces. Our students were given the opportunity to see the employees of 85 different media companies working and collaborating on the roof garden and in the mezzanine area of the building before taking part in a session focusing on entrepreneurship in the media.
The session opened with a presentation about the humble beginnings of a number of local media companies including: Elmwood, a branding company that began in a kitchen in Otley and now writes advertising campaigns for companies such as Coca Cola; and Powerhouse, a photography and filming company in Farsley that promotes high-end fashion companies.
The session leaders – Rob and Maddie Julian – also told us the moving story behind their own company, Digibete. This is an online platform for sharing videos and educational resources about Type 1 Diabetes, which has been designed to support children with the illness. The platform is used by hospitals throughout the country and around the world. Rob and Maddie created Digibete when their own son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and they found that there was no easily-accessible information available for children with this life-threatening condition. They set up and worked on Digibete from their front room in Meanwood for two years, until recently moving to an office in Platform.
Rob and Maddie’s resilience and positive mind-set inspired our students and made them feel that anybody can create a media business if they have the right attitude and work ethic. By the end of the visit, our students had a much better understanding of how to set up a small media business and what sort of higher education courses might support that aim. It also gave them an insight into how entrepreneurs can use the skills and contacts they acquire at university to create their own successful businesses.
One of our students commented that the day had ‘…really opened my eyes to a possible media career in Leeds. I thought I would have to go to London to get anywhere in the media but it’s all happening on our doorstep.’