LEAVING home to start at university can be an anxious time for teenagers. James Astin said he found his first year living in Newcastle was a struggle so he set up a business he thinks will help others to cope better.
The 21-year-old undergraduate has launched Stuff4Uni to provide packs of basics to get freshers equipped to live on their own for the first time.
His retail website offers a kitchen pack, with cutlery, crockery and a frying pan to support their tentative forays into feeding themselves, his study pack has files and pens and binders and a bathroom pack ensures they will be well-groomed when they venture into lecture halls or bars.
“It can be a stressful time, going away to university, being away from home for the first time and having to look after yourself,” he said.
“I found it really hard going round the shops looking for everything I needed. That is especially true for international students who might not know the best places to go to buy these things.
The Newcastle University third year has already had a lot of interest in his website and dozens of orders from across the country and even from as far away as India.
“I just spotted a gap in the market and went for it. Ordering through us the student doesn’t have to worry. It will be delivered to wherever they want, whenever they want.
“Everything is good quality, from mainstream brands and we are priced so it is no more expensive than buying from a shop and in many cases it can work out cheaper, as I can buy in bulk from the producers.”
Astin, from Rugby, is now working with the Newcastle University’s Rise Up team, an incubator unit which offers support to students and graduates form Newcastle University to help grow his business.
He added: “When I graduate next year this is what I want to focus on. I know I’ll get great support from Rise Up who support Newcastle University graduates for life when setting up a business.”
Nick Keeley, director of the university’s careers service, said: “It is great to see that many of our students have an entrepreneurial spirit. James has done really well to get this business off the ground and hopefully he will be able to continue this success into the future.”