If you want something to change your life, you can use social media and the power of the internet to go out there and get it. That’s the advice of Business Management graduate Kirsty Devlin.
Since leaving Edge Hill University, she’s set up her own social media agency, been named in the Top 50 Future list by the Northern Powerhouse Women Awards and is lining up former TV Dragon Hilary Devey as a mentor after the two Bolton women connected on Twitter.
Kirsty showed her flair for entrepreneurship at an early age – selling stationery to her classmates in primary school, and wristbands and boots to her teenage friends.
But she thought some formal qualifications would be a boost to her future career, which is why she enrolled at Edge Hill.
“I didn’t think anyone would take me seriously without a degree,” she says. “I knew I wanted to go into business, but I needed education to back that up. Now I think it’s about more than that. I think going to university makes you grow up in an environment where you can immerse yourself.
“One thing I particularly liked about Edge Hill was that the campus didn’t have the distractions of a big city. I also loved that you could always go to different people for different problems, whether they were family issues or money struggles.”
After graduation Kirsty took an apprenticeship at Bolton Council, but the business world was still drawing her in.
“I started going to the big business shows in London and networking my way around them,” adds Kirsty. “I made some very influential contacts there and heard about a business incubator in Manchester called Escalator, which was run by Barclays, a co-working space for hundreds of entrepreneurs. First, I begged to volunteer there, then I landed myself a job. Through all of this I’ve been able to shadow and learn from the best. Now I have amazing connections and we do business together.
“I was getting the itch to do something myself so I started Social Cinnamon, a social media agency. It puts you in a real position of trust – it is so easy for businesses to put out the wrong message – companies are putting their brand and tone of voice into your hands.”
Kirsty’s next milestone will be a meeting with Hilary Devey – former Dragon and founder of The Pall-Ex Group, a business with a turnover of more than £100 million.
“She is my biggest inspiration and has agreed to mentor me,” adds Kirsty. “It’s also proof that if you have someone you want to reach out to, you can do it. Between Twitter and the internet there is a way.”