From Lafrowda to riches…
Matt Rusk, Student Entrepreneur in Residence, talks to The Tab about success and making money.
The future Alan Sugar, Matt Rusk is an Exeter History graduate that is funded by the University to help other budding student entrepreneurs through his role as Student Entrepreneur in Residence.
The Tab caught up with him to talk guitar lessons, Lord Sugar and world domination…
Tab: What inspired you to start a business whilst also pursuing your degree? Were they difficult to balance?
Matt: I had to make enough money to pay for my rent, food and social life at Exeter. I lived in old Lafrowda and I started selling T-shirts to pay for my first few weeks food.
After selling enough T-shirts I bought www.guitarlessonsexeter.com and started teaching to the students the site connected me to.
By second year I was teaching over 25 hours a week while starting to expand the business and hiring teachers as I went. It was extremely difficult to manage my degree and the business; I managed by working 7am – 11.30pm each day, cutting down on social life & working through the nights before due dates!
Tab: What exactly is a Student Entrepreneur in Residence?
Matt: I work with students who have a business idea and want to turn that into a fully functioning business, offering advice, support and grant funding. This includes everyone from the idea stage through to the students who already run businesses.
We have about 15 amazing student entrepreneurs running businesses that turn over thousands of pound each year and I help to develop these!
Tab: What sorts of ideas have students presented to you?
Matt: Exeter University students are always presenting crazy and ingenious business ideas – everything from a sock company that distributes socks to homeless people (Jollies Socks), bicycles with a wind sail attached (Whike), custom belts (JD Solis), an on-campus iPhone repair service (iMended) and countless others!
Tab: Where do you plan to take your business next?
Matt: As of January 2013 MGR Music is in 38 cities and I am looking to expand to 100 locations over three instruments (guitar, singing, piano).
I am looking to hire another 90 teachers across the nation, providing music lessons for students throughout the UK. Websites like www.singinglessonsexeter.com have really taken off, providing Exeter students with lessons taught by alumni – if you can teach singing, guitar, drum or piano while studying here, I might have a job for you.
Having expanded from Plymouth to Glasgow I would like to expand into Europe over the next 12 months!
Tab: So are you basically the Alan Sugar of Exeter Uni?
Matt: Lord Sugar is worth £770 million; Donald Trump is worth between $3.1 and $7 billion. You can work out who I’d rather be!
If you’d like to get in touch with Matt, you can tweet him @matthew_rusk
or contact him here.