Students bring Apprentice-inspired businesses to Bath

Teams of students from the University are taking ownership of an empty shop in Bath in the next two weeks, when they go head-to-head in a battle to be crowned best student business. 

The students are taking part in an enterprise competition (8 to 18 November) which will give them real life experience of running a business, organised by the Students’ Union in conjunction with Bath & North East Somerset Council, which has provided the premises. 

Each team will set up shop for one day at 7a Lower Borough Walls; the first team started trading at 9am today (Tuesday 8 November) and a new team taking its turn every weekday through to Friday 18 November. 

The teams go into business with a £200 start-up fund, a package of training run by the Students’ Union and expert advice from local business mentors, including Bath graduate Nicolas Carey who runs the locally based Take Note! student advertising

The team which makes the most profit will win and get to keep their profits. The winners will be announced at the Grand Finale in the Guildhall on Friday 25 November, where each team will give a five minute presentation demonstrating what it learnt about business from the project. 

The teams are: 

  • Oh my woopie pie (Tuesday 8 November) selling homemade American woopie pies, said to be the next big thing after the cupcake
  • One Malaysia (Wednesday 9 November) made up of members’ of the Students’ Unions Malaysian Society and promising authentic Malaysian snacks and a cultural experience
  • En Joy (Thursday 10 November) a team of European students who will be creating a Christmas art and craft store, and offering life drawing classes with a qualified art teacher
  • T (Friday 11 November) linking with the Tea Emporium in Bath they will be serving samples of tea from around the world and selling tea products and cupcakes
  • New Leaf Teas (Monday 14 November) offering an authentic, traditional tea shop experience
  • Stereoscopic (Tuesday 15 November) made up of members of the Students’ Union Bulgarian Society, selling fresh crêpes
  • Sweet Emporium (Wednesday 16 November) selling a delicious array of packaged sweets, including toffee apples
  • Tub Tee Shirts (Thursday 17 November) selling stencilled t-shirts with Bath related designs
  • The Cakery (Friday 18 November) serving a tempting array of cakes including fairy cakes and chocolate crispies

Matthew Bannister, from Oh my woopie pie, a third year civil engineering student, said: "I’ve already started a small student business on my own and with lots of friends asking questions about the process and discussing The Apprentice, we thought it would be a great experience to try a new venture as part of a team. 

One Malaysia

"We’re selling  woopie pies  and hot drinks. The pies are a cross between a cup cake and a biscuit with butter cream sandwich. They’re relatively new to the UK, and they’re delicious.  If you haven’t tried one you should!" 

Speaking of their chances in the competition, Matthew said: "We are confident that we will end in profit but winning really depends on the competition. We are very pleased with our products and our business plan so if we execute it well then we definitely stand a fighting chance." 

Siobáin Hone, Student Enterprise Coordinator in the Students’ Union, said: "The competition is running in the wake of the success of Bath graduate Tom Pellereau becoming Lord Alan Sugar’s latest Apprentice, and inevitably it’s generated a lot of excitement among our students, who feel inspired to give it a go. 

"It’s a great opportunity for students to try out their entrepreneurial ambitions, to learn new skills 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." 

The shop will be online via a live webcam, set up with support from EtherLive, a local company set up by Bath graduate Chris Green.

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