From student to start-up star – read Sydney’s story

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For budding entrepreneurs who have their sights set on running their own business, there’s no better example to follow than Edinburgh Napier graduate Sydney Chasin.
From winning funding for her innovative ideas to taking her start-up story to Downing Street, Sydney has had an incredible journey from her time as a student to a fully-fledged business owner and entrepreneur.
  

Supported by the University’s Bright Red Triangle business incubator, she has now brought her product to market and has her sights set on growing even further – but her journey first began as a student in financial services with entrepreneurship.

Sydney was inspired to start her own business – The Healthy Crop – after completing her studies and became the first recipient of the University’s graduate entrepreneurship visa sponsorship.

Her product lil’POP is a healthy snack that uses a crop called sorghum to produce an alternative to popcorn. Made from sorghum grain, her pink Himalayan salt flavoured-snack is the first of her products to be released commercially.

Using the ancient sorghum grain – which is over 8,000 years old – the snack is naturally gluten free, vegan friendly and high in fibre. It is also smaller in shape and size than regular popcorn.

During the sorghum popping process, the hull of the corn does not detach meaning that there are no annoying hulls that get caught in your teeth while eating. Additionally, unlike popcorn, the unpopped seeds are soft and edible to eat.

Sydney has won support and financial funding from a host of sources including The Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Institute for Enterprise and an incredible £10,000 through the Scottish EDGE competition – a project aimed at identifying and supporting Scotland’s up-and-coming potential entrepreneurial talent.


Find out how Bright Red Triangle can support your start-up ideas

Every organisation I’ve worked with has contributed to me getting to this point but the team at Bright Red Triangle has been there from the very start.

Sydney Chasin

Edinburgh Napier graduate and entrepreneur

She also took her story to 10 Downing Street as part of an Enterprise Nation delegation to meet special adviser to the Prime Minister Jimmy McLoughlin and business engagement manager Niamh Mulholland for a special event on young entrepreneurs.

During the visit, Sydney was able to voice her views on the potential impact that small start-up businesses can have in the UK, alongside hearing more from government representatives on the current support and guidance available for young entrepreneurs in the country.

For Sydney, the trip was a chance for her small start-up to air its opinions on the grandest business stage of them all.

She said: “As a young entrepreneur, setting out to create a global business, I find it important to know that I am being heard and that the government support and conditions are right to enable the success of both my company and other young companies. Opportunities like this give entrepreneurs a voice at what is arguably the most important table in the country.

“The brand my company has created – lil’POP – is all about showing that the little things, actions and people make a massive impact. This unique opportunity to join Enterprise Nation as part of a young entrepreneur delegation at 10 Downing Street goes to prove that the little people can indeed by heard.”

The commercial launch of lil’POP signalled the next milestone in Sydney’s entrepreneurial journey. With her product now officially on the market, Sydney is beginning to attract investment to the business to allow for further expansion – including the release of two new flavours.

She said: “I am incredibly excited to officially bring lil’POP to market. It has been a long time in the making and the process of taking an entirely new product to market has been challenging, but rewarding. Always celebrating the lil’ things along the way!

“The next phase is to officially launch our first round of investment so that I can continue to expand the lil’POP range and add additional flavours to its line-up. Today is just the beginning of the next chapter and it’s one that I’m really looking forward to.”

Sydney also credits Bright Red Triangle with giving her support in the early stages of her entrepreneurial career, something that she is grateful for.

“Bright Red Triangle has been amazing,” she said. “Every organisation I’ve worked with has contributed to me getting to this point but the team at Bright Red Triangle has been there from the very start.

“I’ve worked out the incubator since 2016. I’m now growing a team from there. I’ve made it my home. There’s a fantastic community of like-minded individuals that has been fostered through Bright Red Triangle and the opportunities that come your way through being involved with something like that are endless. I’ve made so many friends through it too. It’s been a great resource to have as I’ve worked to bring lil’POP to market.”


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