Stacey’s degree leads to entrepreneurial success.

Posted on 6th November 2013

A young entrepreneur and soon-to-be-graduate has started her own business while gaining her degree, thanks to help from the University.

Stacey Koks, 26, who was born in Zimbabwe before moving to Liverpool,has successfully achieved a degree in Events Management as well as receiving business support from the University’s Riverside Innovation Centre (RIC) to develop her own concierge and events company based on the Wirral.

Stacey Koks

Stacey (pictured left) fast-tracked her idea after attending Accelerate – a Venture 3 event at the RIC which involved candidates attending a two-day intensive programme where budding entrepreneurs are exposed to industry experts and business consultants who work collaboratively with the participants to start up a business in less than 13 hours. The initiative is part of the North West Higher Education Enterprise Champions project and is co-funded by ERDF. 

Her company, Kohst Events Management, uses expert local knowledge to deliver bespoke events, such as seminars, private dinners and corporate hospitality through to finding the right location for events.

Stacey chose to study Events Management at Chester after initially studying Journalism but her passion for events made her change direction.

Before starting her course she began gaining work experience, including working in an events and marketing role in hospitality. This led her to a big break planning Liverpool FC player Jamie Carragher's testimonial match, gala dinner and other events in September 2010. She used her events knowledge to help deliver these occasions which raised approximately £1.3 million for children's charities in Merseyside.

Stacey said: “I chose Chester because the course looked really good as it covered a number of aspects around the events and marketing industry which I thought would stand me in good stead after graduation.

Stacey added that gaining her degree means that she can back up the hands on experience she already has with a qualification. She said: “Although it was challenging trying to manage studying whilst maintaining work experience, reaching the end goal of a degree in Events Management not only gives me more credibility when applying for jobs but has also earned me respect from colleagues within the field, who are even more willing to promote me and help me get further ahead with my career.”

Now Stacey is looking forward to taking her own ideas forward. She said: “The idea behind Kohst is that it I am there to act as your co-host and ensure that planning your event is ultimately made as effortless and smooth as possible.

“I have just registered Kohst Events Management which I will focus on growing over the next few years and beyond. I genuinely enjoy seeing events come together and my company does just that, with an initial focus on smaller, personal or private events that require that little bit of extra special attention. This means that for the meantime at least I can continue to work in my job which exposes me to meeting a lot of the clientele I hope to eventually work with while growing my own business.

“I continued to work part time throughout my degree which was really challenging as my job included quite a bit of travel and working on multiple projects so I had to be conscious to time-manage everything to ensure I didn't miss any deadlines. I am glad that I did both as it meant that as soon as I finished my degree I was able to take some time out before being offered a full-time role at the same company- national law firm Hill Dickinson LLP.”

Stacey added that she thoroughly enjoyed her time at Chester and the support she received. She said: “The lecturers were the best thing about studying at Chester - every one of them had such different personalities and experience that it was never a problem to seek them out for help when you needed it. For example Julian Pellatt would never let you get away with any incorrect referencing on assignments while Tim Brown was able to forward work experience opportunities at prominent events throughout the year.”

Kirsty Badrock, Innovation Enterprise Co-ordinator at the RIC added: “Stacey is a superb example of a student who has followed a less ‘conventional’, entrepreneurial career path, directly applying and utilising the new skills and knowledge she has gained at University to form Kohst.

“The business experts at the Accelerate event were impressed by Stacey’s drive, passion and enthusiasm for her idea, along with her business acumen. The judges were extremely impressed by Stacey and she was subsequently offered on-going bespoke business development support from the RIC.”