University of Sheffield Graduate wins Young Entrepreneur Award

An entrepreneur who has been supported by the University of Sheffield’s Enterprise Centre (USE) has marked two years in with business with a national award and a move to bigger premises. 

Faye Savoury

University of Sheffield graduate Faye Savory, who is the founder of BearHugs, a growing online company which offers personalised 'hug in a box' gift hampers, has been awarded a Duke of York Young Entrepreneur Award. 

The accolade coincides with a period of growth for BearHugs which has recruited two members of staff and moved into larger premises in the WorkStation in Sheffield. 

The idea for Bear Hugs came after Faye, who studied Speech and Language Therapy at the University of Sheffield, was diagnosed with Lyme Disease at the age of just 23, leaving her unable to leave the house and continue her job as a Paediatric Speech and Language Therapist. 

Receiving a thoughtful gift in the post from a friend inspired her business idea of sending ‘hugs in boxes’, and in 2015 BearHugs was launched.

Faye initially used the University of Sheffield’s Enterprise Centre's co-working space before moving to the Workstation in Sheffield. She still receives support from the University team’s start-up coaches.

Speaking about the award, Faye said: “I was absolutely over the moon to win, especially as the competition was so stiff. 

“I also got the chance to speak to the Duke of York who was really interested in the work I want to do to support people with chronic illness. 

“BearHugs is going from strength to strength and I’m really grateful to USE for the support it has given me to help my business get to this stage.” 

All University of Sheffield students and graduates, no matter when they left the University, can benefit from the services offered by USE to make their entrepreneurial ideas happen.  

Business coaching, advice, seed funding and free office space are just some of the services available to help individuals get their business off of the ground. 

Early stage tech startup, Tutora, co-founded by University of Sheffield graduate Scott Woodley, also received support from USE and started off in its workspace before expanding and moving out to bigger premises. 

The company, has recently taken on more staff and invested in research and development.

I’m really grateful to USE for the support it has given me to help my business get to this stage.

faye savory, founder of bearhugs and graduate

Darren Chouings, a USE start-up coach specialising in social enterprise, said: “We are really proud of Faye’s success and it’s wonderful to see. She has worked incredibly hard in a short space of time to make BearHugs such a successful business.” 

Bear Hugs has grown rapidly since its launch selling 1,000 boxes in the first year and 5,000 in the second year.

The company recently appointed two new customer service representatives who join Faye and her work experience placement and volunteer to make a team of five. Based on her own experience Faye is also planning to create flexible part time working opportunities for people who are ill or housebound. 

The Duke of York Young Entrepreneur Award, is presented to individuals who have displayed remarkable entrepreneurship whilst at University. The honour follows Bear Hugs being named a finalist in the Prince’s Trust Celebrate Success Awards earlier in the year and this month the company was named in the semi-finals of the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Award which will be announced later this month (June 2017).

Additional Information

University of Sheffield Enterprise (USE)
University of Sheffield Enterprise (USE) seeks to stimulate new ideas and supports students and graduates of the University to make their entrepreneurial ideas happen, through a programme of activities including: business coaching, advice, seed funding and incubation space.
The Enterprise Zone is open 9-5, Monday to Friday. More information can be found via www.enterprise.shef.ac.uk

The University of Sheffield
With almost 27,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.
A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.
Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.
Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2016 and was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education in 2014. In the last decade it has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.
Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.
Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

Contact

For further information please contact:
Clare Parkin
clare.parkin@sheffield.ac.uk
0114 222 9851.