A Robert Gordon University (RGU) graduate is using his entrepreneurial talent to help students build employability skills while studying for their degree.
Daryll Morrow came up with his business idea while studying at RGU and has since been working with the RGU Incubator to develop it.
Udrafter (The University Draft) is a start-up platform business spun out of RGU. It is an on demand, real time recruitment platform where businesses can post one-off jobs to be completed by skilled students within hours, even minutes.
Daryll initially completed a BA (Hons) Applied Social Sciences then went on to study an MSc in International Business where he came up with the idea for Udrafter.
He said: “I came up with the idea for Udrafter when I was studying for my masters degree in February 2016. One of the modules we completed was called ‘Launching a New Venture’ and we had to come up with a business idea, create a business plan and then pitch it to the lecturers.
“As a student myself, I had identified certain problems while studying at university. Similar to a lot of students, I had a part-time job and this helped pay for my student lifestyle. However, I wouldn’t get paid until the end of the month, shift patterns were unsociable and difficult to get time off and the work I was doing had nothing to do with my degree. If I ran out of money I was stuck until the end of the month and if I had exams or an event I couldn’t always get the time off and I wasn’t gaining any relevant work experience that would put me in an employable position when I graduated.
“That’s when Udrafter was born – one-off, on demand student jobs with pay on completion terms. Udrafter gives students flexible, paid work experience opportunities on a one-off basis. This could range from a few hours work to a couple of weeks work. Our goal is to provide students with a resource where they can build practical employability skills that complement their degree discipline – something which is highly sought after by leading graduate employers in the UK. Udrafter offers businesses a rapid student recruitment resource with a wide range of different skill sets available within hours, even minutes.”
He continued: “We were lucky enough to gain a place on the Elevator Business Accelerator programme. This was an intense 12 week programme that enabled us to solidify our business model and gain crucial advice from industry experts such as Barclays, KPMG and Burness Paull. This was an invaluable opportunity which enabled us to take an idea and transform it into a viable business venture.”
So far, Daryll who runs the company with his brother Luke- who also studied at RGU – has managed to raise £30,000 for the business through a Scottish Enterprise Grant and Virgin Startup Loan.
“This funding has been incredible and we are just about to begin developing the Udrafter online platform”, he said. “We are also extremely lucky to be finalists in the Scottish Young EDGE competition where we will be pitching for a chance to win up to £15,000 along with 15 other promising young businesses. Out of 16 businesses, there will be seven winners so we will be working extremely hard up until the final on May 9.
“Over the next six to eight months we are completely focussed on building and tweaking the Udrafter platform so that it is ready for the launch after the summer. Over this time we will be speaking with interested students and local businesses who will be able to gain great value from Udrafter. We are also preparing to raise initial investment in order to recruit further expertise into our team to help achieve our ambitions for national growth.
“The whole process has been extremely tough since leaving university, but to see where we have come in such a short space of time gives me a huge amount of motivation to make the dream become a reality. I didn’t think I would ever find a job that was meant for me, or that I would enjoy for the rest of my life – but I can say with confidence that it doesn’t feel like a job when you love what you do.”
The RGU Incubator is based at Garthdee and is part of the wider enterprise and entrepreneurship provision to showcase RGU’s commitment to drive innovation into its teaching and become a partner in lifelong professional development.