Here you will find the five nominees for the Best Student Enterprise Experience Category. Each of these projects was supported by a partner university to engage and promote the entrepreneurial spirit of its students.
Student Enterprise 10
University of Bath
Student Enterprise '10 is a two month long student-led enterprise competition run during Global Entrepreneurship Week at the University of Bath. It is organised by the Students' Union and project-managed by a student with support from BANTER Bath Entrepreneurs – our student enterprise group. The local council and the Student Community Partnership also get involved. Over 150 students participated and it won a 'High Impact Award' from the government organisation that promotes the week.
Students form teams and pitch for the right to trade for a day from a pop-up shop in Bath. Interactive workshops (including a finance session run by the University's Finance Director) lead into a pitching competition where teams compete for a day in the shop. Teams are matched with a business mentor - including students who had participated the year before - and given a £200 start-up loan which they try to turn into a profit. The winners are those who make the most profit and this they get to keep. Profits (and losses) are rolled into the project for the following year and this initiative is now self-sustaining.
Students keep a video record of their entrepreneurial journey throughout and reflect on and share their learning in team presentations at a Grand Finale at the end of the project.
Much press, radio and tv coverage has come from this activity as well as an invitation for the student project manager to present a poster at the MIT Global Start-Up Workshop in South Korea in March 2011.
University of Bristol
The SPARK course is one of the highlights of the calendar here at the University of Bristol. It is an intensive 4-day programme developed to help you take an idea to the market – be it the next must-have gadget, a community project, a new service for business, or a social enterprise.
Spark is all about transforming ideas into action.
- 100% of feedback gave the course 4/5 or 5/5 for being 'enjoyable', 'interesting' and 'useful' (over 60% gave us 5/5 in all categories)
- Feedback indicated a 24% increase in participants' confidence in their ability to start a business (from 48% to 72%) after attending Spark
- Feedback indicated a 22% increase in participants' desire to take up an 'innovator/intrapreneurial' role in an organisation (from 62% to 80%) after attending Spark
Spark is a course which leaves people inspired. From bringing in the Army to carry out leadership training to top local entrepreneurs sharing their wisdom. It is held in the beautiful Burwalls estate every year before fresher's week.
Exeter Apprentice Competition
University of Exeter
The event we have nominated for the Best Student Enterprise Experience is The Exeter Apprentice Competition. The very basics behind this competition is that we micro-finance 25 teams £100. With this £100 each team has to go out and over the course of a month set up absolutely any business of their choice, as long as it's not illegal or morally dubious and then during that month try and create the largest amount of profit from that original £100.
At the end of the competition 80% of the total profit that each team makes goes back to them, 10% comes back to us as a society and the final 10% goes to a charity of the society's choice, which this year was DecAid. This is a charity commemorating 10 years of the UK being in Afghanistan and helping men and service women who have served there. We raised over £300 for this charity through the Exeter Apprentice.
This year the total amount of profit earned was £1757 creating a 70% rate of return including those teams that didn't make a profit. The most profitable team, Innovate, created the Exeter Sports Water Bottle creating a profit of over £1400. This has now led to 1 in every 20 students on campus having one of their water bottles. The most creative and original team was a company that bought second hand t-shirts from charity shops and then using their own graphic design skills re-branded them. The most socially responsible award went to a team who created organic lube. The success of this competition lies in the fact that all 3 of these teams are now fully fledged businesses and still running.
University of Southampton
SIFE Southampton is the University of Southampton Social Enterprise Society.
Established only three years ago, the society have grown from the 30 founding members to over 100 active members who volunteer at least three hours a week to running a social project.
The team have six established social enterprise project and three profit making businesses. This year SIFE Southampton have directly impacted over 600 individuals in improving their quality of life and standard of living through the social enterprise projects set up through SIFE. These people range from young people in the local area to poor rural families in countries like Madagascar and Sierra Leone. In addition, the team has generated over £15,000 in profit this year through their consultancy, web design and clothing businesses.
The SIFE team presented all of their achievements in a 24-minute presentation at the SIFE National Championship. They had to progress through four rounds being judged and questioned by judges from some of the biggest and leading UK and global businesses including RBS, Enterprise-Rent-A-Car, Centrica and Deloitte. After making it to the final four teams in the UK, the SIFE team presented in from of 700 students, University leaders and top business leaders to be crowned this years national champion.
The students will now be representing the UK in the SIFE World Cup in Kuala Lumpur later this year. They will be competing against the top teams from over 40 countries worldwide.
The experience has been described as one of the best things they have ever done in their lives, meaning this experience will carry on driving and inspiring all the students involved in SIFE Southampton.
Enterprise Summer School
University of Surrey
Now in its 5th year the Artis/Tech Enterprise Summer School has successfully developed from a one day event to a three day residential course held at Farnham Castle.
The Summer School runs as a partnership between University of Surrey and University for the Creative Arts and enables students from different degree disciplines to:
- work together in teams on real industry issues
- learn tools and techniques to enhance creative thinking and business planning
- experience collaborative team enterprise
- network with other enterprising students, entrepreneurs and businesses
- leave thoroughly inspired and motivated
The business challenges relate to a real organisation that the teams work with. Over the three days each team researches and comes up with a solution to the challenge, presenting their ideas on the final day for consideration by the business sponsor.
The visiting entrepreneurs, who form part of the programme, are very popular ranging from the experienced and famous like Mike Southon, the Beermat Entrepreneur or Lord Andrew Mawson, the Social Entrepreneur through a range of successful (or not so successful but willing to explain) people and always including new young entrepreneurs only a year or three ahead of the students!
The highlight of the three days is the business networking dinner. The students and invited guests from the business world network before and during the dinner. The after-dinner speaker is always an excellent entrepreneur with an inpirational story to tell.
The student feedback from the summer school has always been fantastic and many "alumni" have recommended their friends to attend subsequent year.