Exchange student turns bamboo entrepreneur
When the University opened its doors in 2004 the first cohort of students included a handful of exchange students from the UK Campus. One of those who grasped the opportunity was Ed Cheney, who studied BA History and Chinese Studies, and the experience changed his life.
“I was one of the first six Nottingham students to study at Ningbo and my China experiences have heavily influenced my career ever since,” said Ed.
More than 700 UK students have followed in Ed’s footsteps. During his travels he came across bamboo fabric, an eco-material which is exceptionally soft. He was so impressed with the material that he launched his own bamboo clothing and accessories brand called Mabboo, a company which has gone from market stall to music festivals and now its very own store in Bristol in the United Kingdom.
“It was a great experience and the six months I spent at Ningbo was really the springboard I needed to return to China after I’d graduated,” said Ed.
“I got a job with the British Council to teach in a Chinese Secondary School and then taught at Qingdao University. It’s a fascinating country and a great place to live. Having a business based on bamboo and having studied Chinese I knew my career would end up having a relationship of some sort with the country.
“I made a lot of contacts in China and of that first cohort at least four of us are doing something closely related to China. Many of the Chinese UNNC alumni have also been a great practical help to me in terms of my business too. It’s great to have those connections."