16th April 2013, 2:05pm
Business students launch micro-job market place
Ben Searle and Sam Keenan Two Business and Management undergraduates from the University of Lincoln have set up their own online business aimed at students.

Ben Searle and Sam Keenan are the entrepreneurs behind Smart Young Things; a website designed to help students find freelance work and to offer businesses services at reduced costs.

After finding freelance work for themselves, Ben and Sam noticed a gap in the market and began the creation of Smart Young Things.

Ben and Sam describe the site as a market place for short-term projects for verified UK-based students. Students have to use a University email address (ac.uk) to register and begin their search. They can use the site to search for work as well as to upload the skills they have to offer.

Sam said: “We started off as student freelancers doing market research on a freelance basis for local businesses. We noticed an opportunity, where we had managed to get freelance jobs other students couldn’t seem to get the same opportunities. So we set up Smart Young Things which lets them find similar freelance opportunities to the ones we had.”

Smart Young Things works as a transaction between students (‘sellers’) and businesses (‘buyers’). The site has been entirely funded by the entrepreneurial pair who spent up to a year building capital through their freelance market research before creating the business. Using social networking, word of mouth and offline promotion, Smart Young Things has grown quickly with students nationwide registering their interest.

Sam said: “We launched the site basically to test it and get a few people on there to get some work going through, and it took off quicker than we had expected. We couldn’t control the sign ups and people were doing proper projects, so even in its test period it took off.”

Ben and Sam will continue to work on Smart Young Things upon completing their degrees this year. While the site has gained virality and is continuing to grow, the pair intend to put their full energies into the business focussing on more offline networking and promotion both with students and businesses.

For students thinking of setting up their own business, the pair advise finding a mentor to help you along the way as well as making the decision to create your business.

Ben said: “I’d say you have to go for it. The time people spend thinking about it often puts people off. As soon as we had the idea we just went for it and registered the business. Having a mentor also really helps to bounce ideas off them and use their experience in the industry.”

Sam added: “We just got the business going. You can spend too much time thinking about how scary it is but to us there was no risk. You don’t have to have a brand new idea or be the next Richard Branson.”

Smart Young Things can be found at www.smartyoungthings.co.uk.
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