Flying the flag for Cornwall, start-up business Cornish Essence scooped the prestigious UK Company of the Year title at the Young Enterprise competition national finals, and will now go on to represent the UK at European finals in Latvia this year.

Competing against ten other university start-ups in the UK, including students from Kingston University, Manchester Metropolitan University and Liverpool Hope University, the BA (Hons) Business, Enterprise and Leadership students from Truro and Penwith College wowed the judges by capturing the essence of Cornwall through sight and smell with their unique air fresheners and scented candles.

Company Managing Director Maxine Tregenza from Falmouth said: “We are absolutely delighted to have won Company of the Year and feel honoured and proud to be able to represent the UK at the European finals in Latvia this year. I think our victory is still sinking in because it was a tough competition against ten other universities that all did really well. The team has worked exceptionally hard to make this dream a reality and I cannot thank those who have supported us enough.”

“We are very excited about the future and if there are any retailers, hotels, attractions out there that would love to stock our brand or support our journey please do get in touch,” Maxine added.

Structured as part of the course Entrepreneurship in Practice module, the students were made directors of their own group business where they have been able to combine theory with the practical experience needed to succeed in an increasingly complex and dynamic business world.

Seeing instant success with their initial business plan with air fresheners, the company developed a new line of scented candles that are being sold within the local area at The Cornish Store in Falmouth, helping them to break-even within just five months.

Programme Leader Richard Taite was pleased that the students were rewarded for all of their efforts and said: “This is proof that hard work pays off. Being awarded the Young Enterprise UK Company of the Year is an exceptional accomplishment, and recognises the singular dedication and innovative practice the team has demonstrated throughout the year. We are all so proud of their achievement, and wish them the best of luck at the European finals; to be held in Latvia next month.”

Stealing the show once again Cornish Essence now holds a lengthy list of accolades including twice awarded Young Enterprise Best Business for their trade fairs, Young Business of the Year at the Cornwall Business Awards and now Young Enterprise UK Company of the Year.

Module Leader Gemma Bevan was very proud of her students and said: “This award could not be more deserving. What they have achieved in less than eight months is phenomenal, including four successful wins at trade fairs and awards ceremonies. I’m so pleased for the students; they truly deserve this and I wish them every success at the Young Enterprise European Finals.”