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School of Science, Engineering & Design

Student views

Cotilda Makhumula-Nkhoma

Cotilda's MA led to her setting up her own business - Cotilda’s Fashion Limited.

Cotilda Makhumula-Nkhoma

MA Future Design

'Launchpad is a great asset for graduates wanting to go into business and I developed great networking skills. My highlight was showcasing Cotilda’s Fashion Limited at Africa Fashion Week London 2016.’

Teesside is my local University and a nice place to study. Everything that I needed was close by, including my family who supported me in completing my studies.

My time at Teesside definitely helped me prepare for my career. It allowed me to develop networking skills for business, by collaborating and making contacts with other academic disciplines that were not just fashion-based. I participated in business workshops and a business start-up weekend which gave me the opportunity to collaborate with other students and business entrepreneurs. My team won £1,000 to develop a business idea.

Throughout my MA I attended many talks and workshops provided by Teesside University Launchpad. After getting good feedback from my final project I approached Steve Dougan, Head of Graduate Enterprise, and outlined my business idea. Cotilda’s Fashion Limited was then born and registered.

Cotilda’s Fashion focuses on providing a bespoke service for men and women, with a ready-to-wear soon to follow. As a director and owner of the business I have overall responsibility in the managing and running of the business.

This first year of my business has been a combination of tears and smiles. With my strength being in making garments, I found everything about business overwhelming but I have learnt a lot with support from Teesside Launchpad, friends and family.

I recently moved into a new studio and have been making clothing for local clients. My highlight has been Africa Fashion Week London 2016, where I showcased my designs on the catwalk.

My aim is to make the Cotilda brand recognised in the fashion world, nationally and internationally, and integrate cultures through fabric. I want to bring clothes manufacturing back to the North East and create employment for local people.