Hospitality student turns final year coursework into a 'Dragon's Den style' approved business

International Hospitality Management student Amelia Sutton has turned her final year coursework into a fully-fledged business in the midst of the pandemic.

Not only did her bespoke cupcake company win her first place in the Dragon’s Den competition, but she also completed her year with a first-class degree. 

The Vintage Baker allows customers to create a cupcake with their own choice of cake, filling and topping. Although currently only test-trading whilst working full time, Amelia plans to expand into event catering in the future. Keep an eye out for her build-a-cake experience at food markets and special occasions in the near future.

"I had already had my business idea for a while. Hearing the business mentors talk about their own experiences made me realise that I wasn’t alone. Everyone seems to find it difficult at first and having this support on offer really helped me to feel confident enough to give it a go."

Amelia Sutton, The Vintage Baker
Amelia Sutton, The Vintage Baker
Amelia Sutton, The Vintage Baker

The Dragon’s Den experience is a fun challenge offered by the course in order to practice pitching. As part of the enterprise module, students must write an assessed business plan. Lecturers introduced the experience to provide feedback during the development of these plans.

“The pitch was voluntary, but we were all advised to do it. Everyone in previous years went on to write great business plans, recognise areas for improvement and gain valuable experience. I think everyone should do it; it was very helpful. We hadn’t really done individual presentations before final year; so it has given me a lot more confidence with job interviews and presenting at work too.”

It was thanks to the Dragon’s Den challenge that The Vintage Baker really came to life. In order to create a full experience, Amelia dressed in her vintage apron and set up her cake-making station with various options.

Once the website is officially launched, Amelia will turn her efforts towards events. She is really interested in getting to the point where she can create a unique event experience. As such, the next step will involve participating in food markets and expanding to cater for events such as weddings.

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