You're hired! UWE through to finals of National Student Apprentice competition

Issue date: 01 May 2013

National Student Apprentice Winners - Sam Venning, Dana Riedner and Sam Abbott

Budding entrepreneurs from UWE Bristol have made it through to the finals of the National Student Apprentice competition in London on 20 June.

The team of four UWE students - Sam Venning, Dana Riedner, Sam Abbott and Laura Osbourne - came top out of ten South West universities in the regional heats. The Apprentice-style tasks including getting the best deals on buying typical Bristol items, selling art publications, and creating a plan to build a successful business.

Chris Dalley, who is president of UWE's student innovation and enterprise society UWE InnovEnterS, which organised the event said, “Teams from universities across the region had to compete over the weekend-long event for a grand prize of £1000 and the chance to qualify for the national finals in London.

“The tasks were focussed around independent shops and tested students on their enterprising and entrepreneurial skills.”

Representatives from businesses across the South West developed, executed and judged each task, which were based on real life scenarios.

Chris continued, “The Regional Student Apprentice competition is a great opportunity for students to put into practice and develop the skills they have learnt while at university. Taking part is a great experience for students, helping them to increase their business acumen and employability, while also preparing them for situations they will face throughout their careers.”

The first task was a buying task where teams were given £60 in sterling and £40 of Bristol Pounds to go out and source eight unique items from around Bristol. These items included local goods and produce such as bottles of Bristol champagne-style cider and Bristol- made vinyl records which were only available from independent shops. The winners were the team that came back with all the items and the most amount of money left over. This meant that teams had to haggle hard with shops as well as use creative solutions for some of the items.

The second task was designed to test the teams' selling abilities. UWE graduate and entrepreneur Simone Kidner has created a quarterly publication called Paper Potential showcasing Bristol's creative arts scene. Teams were given 40 copies of the publication's first and second editions worth £5 each and had 90 minutes to go out and sell them to people on the street.

Chris said, “Our team raised over £70 in profit in just 90 minutes which is a great feat. Put together, the teams raised £191 which will go towards making sure Simone can create her next print run of Paper.”

For the final task, teams were set the challenge of creating a profitable business from scratch, with a focus on supporting or servicing the independent shop market in the UK. Teams worked with mentors from Business in the Community and the High Growth Knowledge Company to create a business plan and a 10 minute pitch they would later deliver to industry judges. Ideas included 'Green Box', a Bristol based subscription box that includes taster products from independent shops as well as information on local events, creatives and businesses. Another idea was for a recruitment service called 'PopIn Recruitment' that runs events linking talented students to independent and small businesses.

After completing the three tasks, UWE came out on top winning the grand prize of £1000 provided by NACUE (National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs). The UWE team will go head to head with other regional winners at the National Student Apprentice Finals in June at Kings College London, where the next generation of future business leaders will have a chance to show their potential.


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