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Southampton student's innovative start-up company features on BBC Breakfast

Published: 12 August 2010
Green Oil

Green Oil UK, a company started by University of Southampton student Simon Nash (BA Philosophy and Politics, 2006), will feature on BBC Breakfast on Thursday 12 August.

The theme of the broadcast is to highlight student business start-ups during a job starved recession, and it is reported by BBC Breakfast’s Tim Muffet.

Simon Nash (BA Philosophy and Politics, 2006; MSc Strategic Entrepreneurship, 2008) set up Green Oil UK, a company that makes eco-friendly bicycle maintenance products, around the beginning of the recession, incorporating the same year that Lehman Brothers collapsed. Despite the economic down turn, the company has grown and thrived.

Green Oil UK started up using prize money from winning the Enterprise Boot Camp competition, a joint project run by the universities of Southampton, Southampton Solent, Bournemouth, Portsmouth and Winchester. A further start-up fund of £800 from the University helped with marketing.

As a student, Simon was part of the entrepreneurs’ society Fish on Toast.The society provided various talks and activities, which were immensely helpful – especially for press release writing: we had Bill Clinton’s former PR worker to teach us,” he says.

The company’s eco-friendly ethos was reflected in its first premises: the businesses started out in an ‘eco-cabin’ (garden shed) with a small solar panel on the roof that powered a radio and bottling machinery for up to six hours in the summer. Green Oil UK now has a factory in Wales from which it supplies products to 150 bike shops across the UK.

Green Oil UK has won product awards from several magazines and Simon was selected as arising star of 2010’ in the Institute of Director’s Director magazine. A bank loan last year enabled the company to commission 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles – a first for the bicycle maintenance industry – with the plastic sourced from UK recycling bins.

Simon’s advice to anyone considering setting up a new business is: Just go for it. Don’t think you are too young, too old, too nice, not qualified etc. The time is now. The University offer lots of support for enterprise activities, even after you have graduated.”

If you feel inspired after watching the broadcast, visit Student Enterprise and the Green Oil website.

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