Apprentice-style student shop is back in Bath

Eight teams of students from the University of Bath are doing battle on the Bath high street when they take ownership of an empty shop in the city centre this week.

Each student team will take over the shop at 28 Southgate for one day only, setting up a retail business from scratch and hoping to persuade local shoppers to part with their cash.

The competition is organised by the Students’ Union in conjunction with Bath & North East Somerset Council (B&NES). Each team gets to run their business in the shop from a £200 start-up fund, with a package of training run by the Students’ Union and expert advice from local business mentors.

The Christmas Angel team opened trading on Tuesday 9 November, selling Christmas cards, decorations and other festive goodies.

On Wednesday 10 November V-Smile, run by seven Vietnamese first year students, sell traditional Vietnamese tea and coffee with a twist. The drinks will be sweetened with condensed milk and tapioca with a choice of fruit, jelly, cookies, flan caramel and other flavours to mix.

Other businesses lined up for the shop include:

  • Café Compote (Thursday 11 November), selling a range of fruit flavours;
  • Homemade Cupcakes (Friday 12 November);
  • Bath Focus (Monday 15 November) selling images and photos of Bath;
  • Action Project Group (Tuesday 16 November) selling advent calendars;
  • CuppyCake (Wednesday 17 November) selling cup cakes to ice in the shop; 
  • Black Dot T-Shirt Co (Thursday 18 November) selling t-shirts with images of Bath.

The student businesses will be encouraged to reflect on their learning during the competition and each team will give a short presentation about their experiences at the grand finale.  The winners will be the team who make the most profit - which they will get to keep them. The winner will be announced in a grand finale hosted by B&NES Council on Thursday 25 November.

V-Smile team leader, Quynh Ho, a business administration student, said: “We all have nice memories of these drinks from our school days and we wanted to share it with people in Bath. Vietnamese people have a bright smile – which explains our name - and we want to spread that image locally. We’ll be making a donation from profits to support flood victims back in Vietnam.”

Siobain Hone, Student Enterprise Coordinator, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for students to try out their entrepreneurial ambitions and to play a part in Bath’s retail economy. They’ve had a very short space of time to think up an idea and get ready to sell it on the high street, so I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with and how shoppers react. It’s a fantastic all-round entrepreneurial experience for the students and a good addition to their CVs.”

Councillor Francine Haeberling, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “Bath & North East Somerset Council is delighted to be supporting the University of Bath on this exciting project once again this year. Students make a huge contribution to Bath and this project gives them the opportunity to learn and develop valuable new skills. It will also complement work being done through the Student Community Partnership to get students involved in the wider community.”

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