Tom.

Bachelor of Commerce.

Sport and entrepreneurship… it sounds like you’re busy with both!

I am. I was in the Under-23 New Zealand rowing team for 2017. We went to Bulgaria and raced in the Men’s 8. My entrepreneurship side is how I fund my rowing ambitions. I needed a job that would generate an income whilst allowing me to study and train, so I came up with my own company.

Awesome, tell us about your business.

It’s called the Pegboard Company. We create customisable shelving so people can easily store anything they need. I’m CEO and founder. I used to make the shelves too, but now I outsource the production so I can focus on more interesting aspects like advertising and sales.

What kind of support did you get from UC in starting that?

It was accelerated through the UC Centre for Entrepreneurship. I was approached to join their Incubator Programme, which nurtures and develops young start-ups. We also got support through various scholarships and competitions, like the Summer Start Up and entré’s 85K Challenge. It was great having financial help as well as gaining connections and mentorship.

How’s it all going now?

Really well. We’re increasing sales as we continue to grow. It’s definitely enabled me to follow my passion for rowing. The flexibility of having my own business has been great because being in the Under-23’s squad means I have to relocate to Cambridge from April to August.

"It was great having financial help as well as gaining connections and mentorship."

How do you manage that move with your uni study?

I have to be highly organised! UC has been really accommodating which helps. They’ve allowed me to do papers by distance so I can watch my lectures online and submit assignments over email. The lecturers and faculty at UC have been hugely supportive.

What's been the best thing about UC for you personally?

UC has made it easy for me to pursue things other than my degree. I think that’s important for students. You don’t want to get tunnel vision. You want to be able to mature, learn and excel in a variety of areas. Being at UC has opened up so many pathways for me that I didn’t even think were possible.