A student enterprise competition that started in Bath is set to go national this week, when teams from five universities will battle it out at London’s world famous Spitalfields market.
The students will get to spend a day as market traders in the heart of the East End on Thursday 28 June, and in true Apprentice style, the team that makes the most money will be crowned the winners.
Tom Pellereau, winner of The Apprentice 2011, and Bath graduate, will present the prizes at a Grand Finale on Friday 29 June at the Lloyds Building, in the City.
The University’s Students’ Union has run the student shop competition in Bath for the past three years, with teams of students trading for one day from a shop in the city centre. Now they are running the competition on a national scale, and have invited the Universities of Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey to be part of it.
The five universities form the SETsquared Partnership, which collaborates in enterprise activities, promoting entrepreneurship and supporting new businesses.
One team of six students has been chosen to represent each university and sell their wares at Spitalfields. The Bath students will be selling bags made by the ElephantBranded social enterprise, set up by students James Boon and Tim Mendlessohn. Every purchase from the company means that a school bag is sent to school children in Africa or Asia.
Team leader Katie Martin, an MSc Business& Community student, said: “I love market trading and this is a unique experience. Our game plan is to have a good time, meet new ElephantBranded customers, while selling out of our stock before the competition day of trading is over.
“We all stand by the products we’re selling and believe the social aspect of this business is our strong point. They are very cool, unique bags, and this is paired with their ethical standards and giving back to communities in Africa and Asia adds value to the bags.
“We are definitely stiff competition for the other teams and of course, hope to come in first place.”
Siobain Hone, the Students’ Union’s Enterprise Education Manager said: “The student shop competition has been a tremendous success in Bath and we’re very excited about taking it to another level in London. We’re delighted that SETsquared has given us the opportunity to run the competition nationally.
“We’re following in the tradition of some of the UK’s biggest high street names that began life on a market stall, from Marks & Spencer, to Tesco’s, and of course Lord Alan Sugar.
“The students have a big challenge on their hands to pull in the trade over a very short space of time but they’re busy working on a digital marketing campaign and getting mentoring advice from local entrepreneur Gavin Eddy to ensure that their business plan is as good as it can be.
“The competition is the culmination of a year of enterprise mentoring, competitions and activities run by the Students’ Union so the team is well placed to put these skills into practice.”
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