Here you will find the five nominees in the Best Student Enterprise Experience Category. Each of these projects was developed by one of the Universities to engage and promote the entrepreneurial spirit of its students.


Student Enterprise Shop Competition – University of Bath

Student Enterprise ’11 gave teams of students the opportunity to develop entrepreneurial skills by providing them with a £200 loan, an experienced business mentor and a day trading in a city-centre shop. This was supported by a series of workshops beforehand, and a reflective presentation about their learning at an awards ceremony afterwards. The aim for the teams is to make as much profit as possible, with the winners getting to keep theirs. Other teams’ profits are retained in order to cover any losses and ensure the sustainability of the project.

Headline impact figures:

• 135 students entered the competition in 30 teams

• Entrants ranged from 1st year undergraduates up to final year postgraduates

• All nine teams selected to trade in the shop made a profit

• Total profit was £1,864 which represents a 100% Return-on-Investment (ROI)

In addition to running the project again next year, we will expand it to a regional level through the SETsquared partnership, with teams from the five universities being given a stall at London’s famous Spitalfields market for a day in June. We are also pitching the project to the NUS with the aim of launching nationally in 2013.


Bristol Social Enterprise Conference 2011 – University of Bristol

The inaugural Bristol Social Enterprise Conference brought together over 100 students with successful social entrepreneurs from around the country. The day consisted of a variety of interesting workshops and talks, stalls to peruse and plenty of networking opportunities. Ticket sales covered speaker expenses and a fair-trade lunch, making the conference self-sustaining.

Key areas covered were how social enterprise can be used to develop new ways of tackling environmental issues, global development issues and to explore food systems, models of money and education. The ‘Workshop Lab’ was a space for interactive and collaborative sessions. A key aim of the conference was to provide the information and inspiration for students to develop their own social enterprises. To this end the day of the conference was also the launch of the Lion’s Den- a social and environmental ideas pitching competition. Lots of ideas were submitted and 8 excellent proposals were pitched, with the winners receiving money and support to help put their ideas in motion.

Planning has already begun for next year’s conference which we will be holding on the 17th of November. We want it to be bigger and better and are hoping to collaborate with University of West England.


Spark Conference 2011 – University of Exeter

Popcorn, fizzy drinks and bean bags, the Spark Conference 2011 was how conferences should be run. Spark Conference 2011 gave Exeter students the chance to meet with and hear from the driving forces behind some great young businesses in a more informal setting.

The conference featured young successful entrepreneurs working in a variety of different markets. Speakers included Alex Barton (Founder of Student Designers), Craig Knight (Managing Director at Prism), Andy Harrison (Managing Director at Clockwise Media), Dan Noz (CEO and Founder of Fantasy Shopper), Lizzie Fane (Founder and CEO of, Rob O'Donavon and Ben Gateley (Directors at the Eleven), Adam Houlding (Managing Director at Rule GB Group) and Stewart Noakes (Chairman of TCL Group). These entrepreneurs talked about the highs and lows of setting up their companies and the key opportunities and challenges they faced when launching a new business.

The Conference was rounded off by drinks and a networking opportunity with the speakers, alumni, student entrepreneurs and senior staff members from the University. The event was attend by over 80 students and gained publicity through a number of local press outlets. 


SIFE Southampton – University of Southampton

SIFE (Students In Free Enterprise) Southampton is a team of 132 students who manage twelve global projects: 9 social enterprise projects and 3 commercial enterprises. The breadth of projects available means that students can develop a range of skills in areas such as business and social enterprise, marketing, accounting, as well as team-working, interpersonal and intercultural  communication skills. The authentic experiences set the students apart from their peers, greatly increasing their employability, with students able to show how they have combined sound business theory and practice in real-life situations.

Last year SIFE Southampton was selected to represent the UK at the SIFE World Cup in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and through their projects have positively impacted the lives of over 2,000 people in Southampton and across the world. SIFE Southampton also won the ‘SIFE UK Sustainability Award’ and, this year, has progressed to the final round for the award by investing £2,500 in an emergency sustainability fund to provide the resources to expand recruitment, and by partnering with organisations, to ensure the sustained impact of SIFE Southampton projects. With these measures in place SIFE Southampton is fully sustainable and set to grow as current and new projects develop nationally and internationally.


Surrey Entrepreneurs – University of Surrey

Last semester Surrey Entrepreneurs hosted the 24 hour Entrepreneur pitching competition which is designed to help students bring their ideas to life and start up their own businesses. It consisted of a series of 5 sessions (4 hours each): Networking, Creating Ideas and Forming Teams, Practical Application of Ideas, Building Up Your Pitch and Pitching Practice. The sessions  were run by Andrew Tilling, a professional facilitator. We had over 20 students involved in each workshop.

In December 6 student start-ups pitched for Surrey Entrepreneurs’ £10,000 micro finance. Three of the start-ups got part of the investment. If successful, a 10% interest needs to be put back into the investment, which will enable the society to keep growing more start-ups in future years. An additional 15% from the government was also gained to support more start-ups. Our T&R Funding programme has demonstrated an innovative approach in development and execution; it led to measurable impact on student/graduate enterprise skills and new ventures created.

The experience in terms of engagement and ROI was extremely rewarding.  More than 70 people and a panel of 4 high profile judges attended the event which created a motivational and supportive environment for our contestants.