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.
Basecamp (University of Bristol)
Basecamp's run by students for students (supported by Research, Enterprise & Development Division) at the University of Bristol. Recent graduates Sam, Will and Shaun have done wonders to support student enterprise.
Firstly, they organised a practical masterclass series run by outside professionals for student entrepreneurs. Naming the series 'Monday Means Business', it included sixteen weekly workshops from professionals, covering everything from developing business ideas to selling. 12-15 entrepreneurs came each week, but concerned that some couldn't make every session, they partnered with University of Bristol's student media company to record summary videos of every session – creating their own Basecamp YouTube channel.
They also ran weekly one-to-one business surgeries every Wednesday, which enabled student entrepreneurs to get free in-depth advice from those in the know. A host of companies came in to talk to 4/5 students each week on topics such as marketing, branding, accountancy, legal and pitching.
Basecamp have provided support to almost 100 student businesses at University of Bristol. The team are now handing over these activities to two of the entrepreneurs that they've supported so they can run it next year. Basecamp’s office space has enabled students to share experiences and is encouraging a fantastic entrepreneurial culture!
Enterprise Bath (University of Bath)
UniPopshop is a weekly, year-long enterprise competition which culminates in a final day of trading at Spitalfields market in London. University of Bath students pitch for a chance to run a stall in the Students’ Union every Thursday to sell their product or service. Teams get a £50 loan, mentoring and support from the SU enterprise office. Teams pay back their loans and keep their profits and can apply again after reflecting on their entrepreneurial experiences.
We run a special trading day at Spitalfields market at the end of the academic year with other universities invited to take a stall for an inter-university competition. Bath is represented by the team who makes the most money during the year-long UniPopshop competition. At Spitalfields teams get a £300 start-up loan and a business mentor. The winners are the team who makes the most profit and they get to keep their profits whilst the other profits (or losses) are rolled into the competition for the following year.
In June 2012 we ran the competition for the SETsquared partners and the accompanying video shows footage from that event. This year we are partnering with UnLtd and HEFCE to run a larger competition.
From the Dragon's Mouth (University of Exeter)
'From the Dragons Mouth' with Dragon Doug Richards was the flagship event in 12/13 for Exeter Guilds Entrepreneur support unit IGNITE. It was high profile, inclusive and ensured that regardless of at which developmental point an entrepreneur is, they would find it invaluable. The 8hr masterclass upskilled delegates about the 10 key questions in any venture. 1. Proposition 2. Customer and Market Segment 3. Pricing Model 4. Channel 5. Relationship 6. Partners 7. Competition 8. The Industry 9. The Asset 10. The Competency. 100+ delegates attended, having been recommended to attend by lecturers. The lead Professor of ‘Could you be an Entrepreneur?’ module was so impressed he released his students from lectures. The masterclass was interactive and probing, full of casestudies and voted the most popular enterprise event in a recent facebook poll. Testimonies in the student newspaper included “ its quite exciting, that people like Doug Richard talk to us about Entrepreneurship, its has been an amazing day, I am buzzing with ideas” and “I loved the talk, it’s always good to hear stories and advice from people who have made it to the top and been successful.” The event will be repeated next year, hopefully with curriculum integration.
Studio (University of Surrey)
‘Studio’ is an innovative and unique concept, it is the first permanent retail incubator in the country. It enables students at the University of Surrey to run their own small enterprises, in a real retail environment, alongside studying for their degrees. They learn about many aspects of business including advertising and branding, customer service and business finances which all takes place in a safe environment with minimised risks. Studio tenants work as a cooperative and share resources to increase impact and sales. Tenants pay a small commission on sales, which is reinvested into running costs.
Since Studio’s launch in September 2012, it is currently at maximum capacity, housing six new student businesses. In its 25 weeks of trading, Studio has helped 14 student businesses test their ideas, and there is currently a waiting list for places. Without Studio, the students would not have been able to test their business ideas in a real retail environment.
The plan for the future is to build on the strong success of Studio and increase awareness and impact, by using the lessons passed on by previous tenants to those involved with the scheme in the future.