OU distance learning degree turns business dreams into reality

Economic Transformation in our Nation

Universities have a strong culture of delivery which aligns closely with the Scottish Government’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation. We’ve curated a set of 19 stories to show how universities support people, businesses, industries and Scotland’s regions towards economic transformation.

New vegan start-up launched thanks to business skills learned at the OU

Carly McCluskey from Glasgow has launched a plant-based business to help more people make the switch to a vegan lifestyle.

Carly, 25, had the idea for a ‘vegan egg’ substitute whilst working in recruitment and enrolled to study Business Management with The Open University (OU) to gain the skills needed to make her side hustle a reality. Studying flexibly with the OU means she can earn while she learns and put her new skills into practice straight away.

With a big idea but little experience, Carly knew a business degree would give her the building blocks to progress her company and positively impact the environmental cause she’s so passionate about.

Carly now runs The Random Vegans with her boyfriend Jason and have launched their first product – a ‘chick-free’ egg mix.

Carly says:

“I just thought if I want to make this change in my life and in the world, then I need to learn about business so that I can grow my own.”

“My degree has helped me in so many ways, from learning the basics of accounting, so I can do the books for our business, to learning the basics of marketing to help promote it and create social media campaigns.

“From the second I got my module material, I was reading about it and applying it to my business straight away. With the flexibility of the OU, it really helps me keep on top of everything I need to do. I can work and study at the same time, from my laptop at home and you can also access everything on your phone.”

Not only are Carly and her partner Jason now running their business together, Carly inspired Jason to become an OU student too. The couple now successfully juggle their studies alongside their jobs and sending out orders to customers.

As Jason explains:

“Carly started her course about six months before me and the knowledge she was gaining from the course was just so evident and I thought, ‘I’m crazy for not doing that as well’.”

Looking to the future and how far she’s come already, entrepreneur Carly feels like the sky is the limit.

“I just want to learn as much as I can to make my business the best it can be. We would love to bring out more products, potentially even have a cookbook, or even our own Random Vegan restaurant one day!”

Key Points:

National Strategy for Economic Transformation theme: Entrepreneurial people and culture

Institution: Open University in Scotland

Location: Glasgow

  • The Random Vegans have launched their first product, a ‘chick-free’ egg mix.
  • The OU’s flexible style of learning allows students to study whilst working.