Chris Harper, BA (Hons) Business Studies
The reason I chose the University of Derby was mostly down to its location. Centred in the heart of England, it is a great location to set up a business, which was personal goal of mine whilst at university.
Derby Business School offers plenty of networking events, which I thoroughly enjoy attending. These events have helped me obtain knowledge and experience that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Without the University, I would not have had the opportunity to access these resources.
The staff at Derby are always available to help and support your studies. If at any time I feel I have fallen behind on anything, I can arrange a meeting with my tutor and get straight back on track.
Becoming involved in sport
I first got involved in volleyball when I joined the university. I had only ever played the sport for fun before then. It took me a while to progress to the level of the first team and I trained three times a week with additional hours spent in the gym trying to constantly improve myself. The hard work has paid off and I am now proud to say that I am the captain of the men’s first team.
I also play for the Scotland Men’s international 1st team and often travel around Europe competing in tournaments. Without the University of Derby, I would have never been made aware of the sport.
Establishing my own sports business
I set up DodgeHub in 2013 with some friends with the intention to write a quarterly magazine for the dodgeball community.
Sponsorship for the magazine was very successful and so we decided to start designing and manufacturing equipment to sell alongside our magazine. We ordered in 50 dodgeballs and within two weeks, we had completely sold out. We had clearly hit a niche market in the UK and we weren’t quite prepared for what happened next.
We have now manufactured and sold over 1,000 dodgeballs and magazines in just a year of opening.
We have also broken into the corporate sector, taking on some large contracts such as The John Lewis Group, including Waitrose and Game On Festival. We offer a range of dodgeball activities that aims to improve teamwork within a company. It has been a great hit with the businesses we have already worked with.
We are now in talks with a major league coordinator to negotiate European dodgeball leagues. At the moment we operate all over the UK running leagues and are on the verge of expanding into Europe, starting with Spain. We also supply dodgeballs and magazines all over the world with our main contracts coming from from Canada, Austria and Italy.
I would definitely recommend studying at Derby. It has taught me life lessons and I have met my closest friends here. Attending the University was a real eye opener to what I need to prepare for in the working world.
In my time at Derby, I have set up two successful companies, captained the volleyball 1st team to 2nd place in the BUCs league, captained the dodgeball 1st team to 1st place in the Dodgeball Premier League and to 1st place in the University Championships, making Derby the top University dodgeball team in the UK.
I am now running my company full time whilst studying Business at Derby. It has been a great experience setting the company up. Times can get tough when I am missing lectures to attend business meetings, but the lecturers are more than understanding and after a quick meeting, I am back on track with my studies.