Every year our Varsity Pitch competition attracts hundreds of applicants, this year was no different with over 400 applications. Our Varsity Pitch finalists were in a calibre of their own, with exciting businesses in fashion, leisure, tech and more! During the Varsity Pitch final we caught up with Mat Dusting, 26, founder of M-24, who shared his entrepreneurial journey.
M-24 recycles old truck tarp from lorries and converts it into durable products like duffle bags, rucksacks and messenger bags. All of the bags are made in the UK and are all individual because of the unique designs collected from lorries.
Mat’s first successful experience with business was launching a clothing brand at university - a hoodie business. He explains: “I built a website and went to my head of marketing at university who sent out an email to 3,000 alumni. She she told me when she was going to send out an email and they could pre-order all of these hoodies.
“I made about £2000 overnight. That was my first taste of doing something on my own and I haven’t looked back since.”
Aston University alumni and Product Design graduate, Mat applied for the Varsity Pitch competition on recommendation of a friend. One of the key reasons why Mat applied was to get the support and guidance of mentors and feedback on business.
He continues: “It also seemed like a really great place to get involved with like-minded people, [gain] good exposure and there’s the potential to win money as well.”
Mat was one of the six Varsity Pitch finalists that attended our bootcamp session with TATA Ltd's business experts. Attendees were given help and advice to help them grow and perfect their business models. Speaking about the experience Mat says: "..to get feedback from all different angles has made me alter my thinking slightly [of] how I go forward."
Mat was part of the 86% of the finalists that indicated that since the event they felt confident or very confident to grow their business.
It was really interesting to speak to a comprehensive range of people, with different backgrounds - to get feedback from all different angles which has made me alter my thinking slightly to how I go forward.
Mat considers self-belief as the most important skill needed to be an entrepreneur.
Mat says: “You’ve just gotta absolutely love what you’re doing as well. You can start the most amazing brand in the world, but if you don’t wanna continue doing this you’ll never succeed. Ultimately, I think negotiating power is a big thing.
“You have to be a people person I think, getting on and promoting yourself. I think you’re that number one salesperson in your team. It is crucial as well. Ultimately, that desire and hunger is top.”