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A star of this year’s series of The Apprentice came to Nescot today (Tuesday) to speak to students about setting up businesses.

Francesca Kennedy Wallbank, who is 27 and grew up near Reigate, talked about what she’s learnt from establishing her own two start-ups, as well as discussing her time on the hit BBC show.

Students on Business, Creative Media and NextGen qualifications packed into the college’s Adrian Mann Theatre to hear her tips on bringing a new product or service to the market.

Francesca, whose new business is aiming at helping companies to calculate their carbon so that consumers can make informed choices, also talked about sustainability.

“The students really enjoyed the talk, and came away buzzing with ideas that they want to try out themselves,” said Louise Gaskin, Head of Creative Media at Nescot.

“Francesca explained some complicated concepts in a very clear way, with lots of specific examples that the students could relate to, and she managed to be relatable but also genuinely inspiring.

“A lot of our students are aiming to set up businesses or to work as a freelancer, so the session was very useful to them. We’re really grateful to Francesca for giving up her time to help our students.”

Francesca talked about her career so far, including her time in a graduate scheme in Unilever, as well the 2019 career break that sparked her first business idea.

She explained the process of setting up H20SQD, a business selling flat water bottles that can be personalised, as well as her new venture, The Carbon Footprint Co.

Francesca set out the three stages of bringing a business idea to the market, including the importance of finding a gap in the market, effective market research, and understanding customer behaviour.

She also shared what she’s learnt along the way, discussed the process of being cast for and starring in The Apprentice, and patiently answered the students’ questions.

Creative Media HND student Yashar has set up a production business, and said he’d got lots of ideas of how to promote it from Francesca.

“Listening to her talk made me feel like ‘if she can do it then so can I’, so I’ve got new energy now,” he said afterwards.

HND student Oliver is a long-term fan of The Apprentice and has appeared in the studio audience of spin-off show You’re Fired multiple times.

Speaking before the talk he said he was looking forward to hearing more about the show from a media perspective, including the production planning and processes.

Nescot offers a range of qualifications in Creative Media, Visual Effects and Business for school leavers and at university-level. For more information, visit our website.