My name is Kate Madden and I am an ex-finalist of the National Student Enterprise Programme. I co-founded my business FenuHealth.com with my younger sister Annie to enter the LEO Student Enterprise Programme in 2016.
FenuHealth supplies a range of products to the equine industry. The main products that we have on the market are to help stomach problems in horses. We entered the competition nearly three and a half years ago, and since then, we now have nine products on the market, nine people working on our team, and we export to fifteen countries worldwide!!!
So, how exactly did we do this?????
This is how:
-When we first looked into the LEO Student Enterprise Programme, we found the idea of the competition intriguing. We decided that we needed to find a good, strong business idea because we wanted to make it to the National Final in Croke Park. We had previously entered and won a prize at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. We decided that we were going to turn our science idea into a business reality.
-Firstly, we did what every other student enterprise does: We set up our social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We managed to get help help to design an appropriate logo so we could begin to create our brand. An important factor for us was to build a brand that would stand out from the crowd and make people want to buy it. We chose our main colour schemes and began creating our product labels and brands.
-Our social media did not get much movement at the beginning. Like every other student enterprise, we were over the moon to gain over 500 followers. Now we have over 70,000 likes on Facebook, almost 50,000 followers on Twitter, and over 1,000 on Instagram. How did we manage to grow that much?
-We gained media attention. As our business is within the horse industry, we were selling our initial products to racehorse trainers and people within the industry. We managed to get a very well-known racehorse ‘PadyDePlasterer’ to try and use our products. From this, we gained large media coverage within our industry of equine nutrition. Each time we had a radio interview with RTÉ or a television interview with At The Races, we also plugged our social media accounts and asked people to follow them, and it worked! Media coverage is very valuable for start-up enterprises and businesses because the more that people know about your business, the more the will interact with you.
Nowadays, we get asked regularly for any advice that we would give to entrepreneurs, both young and old… and here is what we say:
- The first piece of advice we give is what we call “KISS”- Keep It Stupidly Simple. When we are a new and rising business, you need to keep the concept of your products and the mission of your business very simple. Many of the top and well educated businesspeople around the world still do not understand some of the tricky business jargon to date. Keeping the concept of your business simple shows that you fully understand what you are talking about, and it also allows the person who you are talking to to understand your business fully also.
- We also advise new start-ups or young businesses to speak to the top people if you want tot get something done. If you want help with something, ask the CEO or the boss of that large company because all they can say is ‘No’, and more times than not, they will say ‘Yes’! All you can do is ask! The top people often have more experience and wisdom within the area that you are asking about, so you will probably get a good answer!
- Our first successful product was our 152nd attempt! Imagine if we had stopped at 151 – the moto – #NeverGiveUp.
- Overall, our business experience has been really positive. We are lucky that we can both continue a full-time education while running a business, but that is purely because we chose to only take on the best and right people for the roles on our team. Each member of our team is capable and knowledgeable within their given area to do a good job in what they need to get done. We have gained lots of help from the Local Enterprise Office and Enterprise Ireland since we began FenuHealth, and we are excited to see what is yet to come…
If you or any of your friends are thinking of partaking in the Student Enterprise Programme, do not hesitate to get in contact with us via our social media channels and we will do whatever we can to help.
Best of luck!
Enjoy the journey!