Bath students have won an Apprentice-styled student enterprise competition, battling it out against five other university teams at London’s Spitalfields market.
The team of six students spent a day trading at the East End market, taking part in the Uni Pop shop competition organised by Bath’s Students’ Union.
The students triumphed with the top profit of £458 and received their prize from Tom Pellereau, winner of The Apprentice 2011 and Bath graduate, at a Grand Finale held at the Lloyds Building (Friday 29 June).
The competition was based on the student shop which has run in Bath for the past three years, with teams of students trading for one day from a shop in the city centre. This time the Students’ Union ran the competition on a national scale, inviting the Universities of Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey to take part.
The five universities form the SETsquared Partnership, which collaborates in enterprise activities, promoting entrepreneurship and supporting new businesses.
The Bath students sold 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: “We’re really happy to have won the Uni Pop Shop competition. We had every confidence in our team and our products, so it was nice to reap the rewards. The Elephant Branded bags have a cool, unique look, and the ethical aspects of the brand intrigued customers too.
“We combined a strong product with great sales techniques and an inviting display on the market stall. Selling at Spitalfields was a great experience and it has helped us to appreciate the realities of how companies operate and make a profit.”
Siobain Hone, the Students’ Union’s Enterprise Education Manager, described the competition as an invaluable opportunity to give students hands-on experience of running a real company.
She said: “This competition is Bath born and bred and we’re immensely proud that it’s the Bath team that came out on top. To have Bath alumnus Tom Pellereau present the prize was the icing on the cake.
“Tom spoke to the student teams about his experiences as an entrepreneur and said how pleased he was that Bath had won. He tweeted Lord Alan Sugar from the event and it was very exciting to see Lord Sugar retweet news of the competition to his two million plus followers.
“The team is very grateful to their mentor, Gavin Eddy, who played such a big part over the past couple of months in coaching them to success. Gavin set up the successful Artisan Market in Frome and gave the team plenty of advice on marketing and sales. They also had a lot of support on the day from Bath alumni.
“The student traders attracted a lot of positive interest from Spitalfield’s regular traders and from local business people and tourists alike. We’re very grateful to the SETsquared Partnership for giving us the opportunity to run the competition nationally There’s already a lot of interest in running the competition next year with more universities on board.”
The event was supported by the SETsquared Partnership as part of its year-long programme of activities that helps students improve their business skills, and turn their bright ideas into profit making companies, including a Deloitte business pitching contest, and a number of enterprise boot camps.
If you enjoyed this story you might also like:
Student entrepreneurs triumph at Deloitte March 2012
Apps Crunch winners February 2012
Malaysian experience wins the student shop November 2011