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Flying not falling: Helping students nestle into new environments

3 April 2020

English Language alumna wins award for start-up business Fledge helping students integrate into new environments

An English Language graduate has won Cardiff University’s Go-Getter 2020 award with her first business five months into start-up.

Alumna Gabriella Holmes used skills acquired in her degree to solve a problem encountered by thousands of students finding their feet in completely new environments each year.

The housemate matchmaking service helps postgraduate and international students to integrate into the local community, preventing loneliness by providing a social support network.

Fledge was founded in November 2019 by three friends inspired by a discussion about finding your feet in a new city and getting an authentic experience.

The 2018 English Language graduate accessed Cardiff University Careers & Employability enterprise start-up support available to students and graduates for two years after graduation including business mentor meetings and seed-funding from concept to commencing trading to make the dream a reality.

Operating in Leeds where the founders Gabriella and graduates Joshua Kirby and David Anacleto met, Fledge profiles data to form housing groups for incoming students to the city and works with accredited landlords in the heart of student areas. It also acts as a dedicated support network with events throughout the duration of student years at university.

Alumna Gabriella has this advice for anyone starting a business from scratch:

“Build an eclectic team of people who share your vision. That way you can each have a clearly defined role within your business and everyone brings a unique skillset. There are always going to be challenges along the way, and having multiple perspectives gives you the best chance of tackling them successfully.”

Looking to spread wings further afield in the future, the start-up plans to help as many international students and postgraduates in Leeds as possible. The longer term goal is to expand to major UK university cities. Watch out for Fledge landing in Cardiff soon.

Supported by Santander and Darwin Gray, the Go-Getter 2020 award was announced at the special Cardiff Student Startup Awards at Tramshed on 26 March.

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