Here are the five nominees for the Best Student Enterprise Experience 2014 category. Each of these projects was developed by one of the universities to engage and promote the entrepreneurial spirit of its students.
Apps Crunch (University of Bath)
Apps Crunch is an app idea and design competition where students work in interdisciplinary teams to develop app ideas with a clear business case.
The students formed teams and generated ideas over a 'Spark Up Weekend' that included idea generation activities, opportunities to gain advice from technology and business mentors, and the chance to pitch their draft ideas for small prizes. Teams also got the opportunity to pitch their ideas to Deloitte in London, to gain further advice and experience.
There was a big focus on attracting students from diverse academic backgrounds to Apps Crunch this year, and as a result eight academic departments had Apps Crunch entrants, compared to only five last year. Compared with last year, The number of female students who entered doubled and the number of postgraduate students who entered tripled.
The experience will be running again next year when we hope to attract even more teams. Many of this year's teams have taken steps to develop their app ideas further even though the competition is over, and the winning team were award a trip to Silicon Valley where they are gaining valuable skills and contacts for the future.
Spark (University of Bristol)
Spark is our annual Entrepreneurial Bootcamp. It regularly attracts over 40 students and the last iteration was in September 2013. It provides a 5-day crash course in making ideas happen. We cover definitions of success, values, team roles and styles, creativity, business model development, customer profiling, sales, marketing, IP, fundraising, pitching. We invite alumni back to share experiences of start-up, we have a 16-strong panel of Dragons and the finale is in Deloitte's Bristol Boardroom. This year's feedback was outstanding with over 80% of attendees rating us 5/5 across all categories and self-efficacy around entrepreneurship consistently rises 20% as a result of the course. Two attendees have already registered companies, five more entered the New Enterprise Competition, half the course joined Inc and/or Enactus, and one attendee just won a category in the national Graduate of the Year Award. The 'ripple effect' is tremendous. We are currently working on the 2014 event with updated speakers, a new venue, and a new time slot in the year.
The Student Start-up Pitch (University of Exeter)
The Student Start-up Pitch was a series of three events, run in partnership by IGNITE, Exeter Entrepreneurs and Crowdcube, which aimed at giving students the encouragement, knowledge, and experience, to pitch their own business ventures.
Participants aimed towards the Dragon's Den style final event in-front of a large audience, professional panel of business veterans and industry experts, for real life advice and feedback.
The project was a real success, with a huge amount of engagement from entrepreneurially minded students. The list of start-ups was whittled down to a final six, all of whom pitched to a professional panel and audience.
We plan to continue TSSP next year, thus giving more students the encouragement they need to turn their dream business ideas into a reality. To improve, we intend to market the project more heavily and get even more students involved.
From this experience, one team, The Gap Card, went on to win the SetSquared Pitching Event. TSSP also gave one of the contestants the courage and confidence to become the president of Exeter Entrepreneurs Society. The excitement that was created about having your own start-up has resulted in plans to create an Accelerator in the making at the university.
Spawn Southampton (University of Southampton)
Spawn is Southampton’s newest and one of the most successful additions with one single vision, “To help students startup a business while at university”. So much is gained throughout this process, so much networking is done and most importantly a successful startup can change the world for the better. We help students eliminate fear of putting their ideas into action and start building their future.
The response has been incredible. Students/lecturers/mentors all value our vision and mention how much Spawn is needed at Southampton. Since what we do is very desired, Spawn has grown rapidly in just a few short months. So much that Spawn was chosen as UK’s top 3 Venture-creation Program out of 195 nominees by NACUE.
The future plan for Spawn is vast. We have an amazing team to take the mission forward. Our plan is to expand Spawn next year and take in up to 10 businesses with more mentorship and funding opportunities.
As described by a spawn member, “what Spawn does is invaluable”. We have literally changed people’s lives. Students that never thought about enterprise have changed the way they see the enterprise world and integrated it in their life because they learned how important entrepreneurial skills is