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Student Styal wins big

IMAGINE creating a business that turned over $18,000 in its first nine weeks with virtually no capital backing and no business experience.

Well that is what Styal has done.

Indeed, it returned a record $20.70 to its shareholders on liquidation, giving more than a 1,000 per cent return on their $2 share.

The jewellery company, made up of Curtin University students, was formed to take part in Young Achievement Australia through the university’s inhouse entrepreneurship program Curtin Advantage.

It won the top prizes at the YAA State awards including Tertiary Company of the Year, Excellence in Marketing, Media Award, Business Plan Award, Annual Report Award and the Blue Chip Award.

Styal managing director Jocelyn Stephens also won the Young Business Person of the Year Award.

The team members will now be representing WA at the national awards to be held in Sydney.

Besides Ms Stephens, the other members of Styal are Caroline Gorman, Pauline Hack, Su Yen Tay, Rigata Lagi, Helena Schulze, Chelsea Beaton, Pavla Mensikova, Pei Jean Lum, Kimberley Young, Kerry McGregor, Vivian Ngo, Jessica Bagley, Martin Sawtell, David Hack and Brad Gorman.

The students were drawn from Curtin’s business, arts, psychology, engineering, computer science and design schools.

Indeed, nine of them were designers.

It sold 301 $2 shares to provide capital and created 39 pieces of jewellery.

These were marketed through office and home demonstrations.

The company also held two large corporate events – one at Curtin University to launch itself and one at Craftwest Gallery that featured models from Spiers Modelling Agency wearing the pieces.

The Craftwest show was funded through corporate sponsorship and other fundraising activities.

Ms Stephens said the events had been designed to showcase the designers and their work.

"It’s something that will help their careers," she said.

Ms Stephens said while the company had been liquidated – a prerequisite of the competition – it has been reborn as Cygnet Design and will take up residence in Curtin Advantage’s business incubator.

However, some of the students, Ms Stephens included, will not be taking part in Cygnet.

Ms Stephens is graduating from Curtin and said she needed to find paying work.

"While I think Cygnet will be a profitable business, they will not be at the stage where they will need professional management for some time," she said.

"However, I’ve learnt a huge amount about starting your own business. It’s definitely something I’d like to do."

Curtin Advantage’s Tracey Hodgkins said the program had only been running at the university for about 18 months.

"We’ve started a program that does everything to support student entrepreneurship," she said.

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