GCU students supported by retailTRUST & Hammerson

16 November 2020

50 talented GCU students supported by retailTRUST and Hammerson

retailTRUST and Hammerson are proud to celebrate their partnership with Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) during Global Entrepreneurship Week (16 – 22 November).

Since 2016, retailTRUST and Hammerson have supported 50 GCU students and graduates to reach their potential through financial awards and also via early start-up funding and mentoring to help get retail-focused business ideas off the ground.

2020 RT and Ham_Orig‌Georgia (pictured), a retailTRUST scholarship recipient studying Fashion Business Creation, graduates this month with distinction in her Master’s degree.  Georgia’s scholarship enabled her to excel academically while progressing her entrepreneurial ambitions through her sustainable fashion company Offcut Clothing (@offcutclothing), which creates garments made from waste fabrics otherwise destined for landfill. Georgia has been kept busy during the pandemic making and selling face coverings including as part of a collaboration with another fashion brand, donating one to charity for every one bought.

"Without my scholarship I wouldn’t have been able to make this move and study at GCU in London, progress my business ideas or even have access to the most up to date information about how the pandemic is affecting the fashion industry. Although COVID-19 has created an uncertain future for SMEs and the fashion industry, it has provided me with an opportunity to help the community, and the customer feedback I have received about the community values of my brand has been extremely positive. I can't wait to see how I can take this to the next level. Thank you for providing me with the chance to not only further my education but to grow my business, and hopefully make a difference in the world of fashion."

This year, retailTRUST and Hammerson responded to student need in the wake of the pandemic, awarding bursaries to students facing hardship through the loss of part-time jobs and income. Erin, a final year International Fashion Branding student, shared an insight into her experience, "Unfortunately due to lockdown my employment was terminated, and I had to return home to my family over 100 miles away, who were not able to help me financially. I feel very fortunate to have received this funding as it has allowed me to return to Glasgow to continue my course. I cannot express how much this means to me and feel sure that without this support I wouldn’t have been able to continue with my studies. Thank you retailTRUST." 

Amy Prendergast, Director of Change, People and Learning at retailTRUST, said: "We are proud to be part of this innovative partnership, offering aspiring entrepreneurs access to training, mentoring and funding to help kick-start their own retail careers and business, as well as providing finance to talented students.  Georgia’s outstanding result is a great example of the impact that our support has for a talented, entrepreneurial student and we wish her well for the future. We are also very glad to have been able to help more students with our bursary awards, and hope that this has helped to soften the impact of the pandemic felt by them."

James Rogers, Community Manager at Hammerson plc, said: "This year has seen the pandemic present many challenges for new businesses and students, and highlighted the importance of supporting fashion students. We look forward to continuing our support of exciting emerging talent in the fashion industry through their education and businesses."

Jillian Watt, Director of the GCU Foundation, said: "The retail sector offers a diverse range of exciting careers, but it is also extremely fast-paced and challenging to enter.  Through their generous support, retailTRUST and Hammerson offer funding and access to industry experts that enable our students to pursue their chosen career as well as helping them develop robust and sustainable businesses. This year we are very grateful that more GCU students have benefited financially through the bursary awards and the responses received from them show what a positive and profound impact this support has had to help them through this challenging year."