University is an expensive investment. Many students try to rectify their cash-strapped situations by taking up part time jobs. This takes time and energy away from a degree, but doing a degree requires money, and so begins the downward spiral. In order to see how this issue could be tackled, I phoned up Joseph Black, a second year Animal Behaviour student at Manchester Metropolitan University, and his childhood friend Oliver Jacobs, a third year Architecture student at Nottingham Trent. They believe the solution to this issue is their new app, UniDosh.
The duo said their main motivation to build the app came from the feeling of “trying to find cash to live our lives.” They set up the platform as a way of exchanging services, so that students could use their own skills to provide services at a cheaper rate to students, and therefore could make money around their schedule.
Students could use their own skills…[to] make money around their schedule.
Joe says “For example, I used to work as a barber back home. I don’t have time around my uni degree to work as a part-time barber, but I could put my services on the app, for as little or as often as I’d like to work.”
The idea is, that if students wanted a cheap barber, they could use UniDosh to locate somebody like Joe to cut their hair for a cheaper price than what is on the market.
“We’d like to keep the money within the student community,” says Oli. “The maintenance loan isn’t enough and part time work could affect their grades. Students can work as little or as much as they want, for a price they’re willing to work for and doing something they want to do.”
Oli and Joe say they started designing their app on a scrap of paper. For now, they say that they’re using their own money and crowdfunding from family and friends who support their idea – they are essentially bootstrapped. They have also brought an external developer on board, as well as a marketing company called Canvas Group, which has helped them market UniDosh with the help of student ambassadors. They hope to expand to many UK universities, including Warwick, throughout 2017.
They started designing their app on a scrap of paper.
“We’ll also be running events in the near future, we’re doing a tour of northern unis in northern February. We have plans to develop the app over summer, and then we’ll push it out again to other cities,” says Oli.
Oli and Joe say that they don’t let their geographical distance or their busy schedules get in the way of growing their business, even if it means conference calling to speak to a student journalist such as myself. “We make time for UniDosh; we both religiously commit to it from 10pm to 3am most nights of the week. We hope that our hard work and time management pays off,” says Joe.
Our friendship helps each other work together, we make sure to keep it intact.
The two entrepreneurs also told me, between laughs and agreements, that they make sure they remind each other of their friendship.
Oli adds “Our friendship helps each other work together, we make sure to keep it intact.”