Students turn social enterprise market traders at UniPopShop

On Tuesday 25 June, Uni Popshop 2013 will see 18 university teams battle it out in an Apprentice-style contest at Spitalfields Market organised by the Student Union's Enterprise Unit in association with the foundation for social entrepreneurs UnLtd and HEFCE.

Sponsored by Ernst & Young, this pop-up shop competition will allow student entrepreneurs to test out their social enterprise ideas and challenge them to make as much money as possible for their ventures in a single day of market trading. Each team of five students has been given a £300 start-up loan, a business mentor and the use of a stall in London’s historic Spitalfields Market to sell their social enterprise products.

The young entrepreneurs have been plotting and planning which great product to sell to the trendy London crowd that frequent the iconic indoor market. And they have had to devise a digital marketing plan to get some buzz going before they open for business for just one day. They aim to make a tidy profit for their social venture while competing to raise the most awareness for the social and environmental impact of their project.

Nish Parkar of Team On Top

Two teams from Bath will be among the teams setting out their stalls to sell, sell, sell. The ‘On Top’ team, led by first year student Nish Picktar, have made slogan t-shirts picking up on well-known Tube sayings like Mind the Gap. They are raising money for Made By Young People, a Birmingham-based organisation that helps disadvantaged young people to develop skills to improve their employment prospects. You can see the team's YouTube video to promote their product here.

One of Team Reincartonation's clutch bags made from recycled juice cartons

Team Reincartonation, led by Jack Cowell, have been busy creating clutch bags and wallets from recycled drinks cartons to sell to raise money for Enactus Bath projects, such as Bright Ways and reSTARt. Find more about their products on Facebook.

Offering inspiration and advice after the event will be the former winner of BBC1 series The Apprentice, and Bath alumnus, Tom Pellereau, who will be sharing his entrepreneurial journey with the students. The winning teams will be presented with an array of exclusive money-can't-buy prizes from UnLtd, digital agency The Eleven and Ernst & Young.

“Nowadays students need more than a good degree when they leave university. We’re giving teams a unique opportunity to test out how entrepreneurial they really are,” explained Siobain Hone, Enterprise Education Manager at the Student Union.

UnLtd Lead Partnership and Support Manager, Lauren Croll said: “UnLtd is delighted to be University of Bath’s partner running this unique event to bring social enterprise student start-ups into the spotlight. Our work is all about helping passionate, entrepreneurial individuals for whom positive social and environmental change is as important as financial profit, and we’re seeing many of the next generation of social entrepreneurs coming from UK Universities.”

Siobain added: “This contest shows the true entrepreneurial spirit of today’s students and gives them a great opportunity to test out and develop their leadership, marketing, creativity, financial and problem solving skills - all vital in enhancing their employability. Whatever they want to do when they graduate - whether or not they are interested in being social entrepreneurs - they will learn how to build and run successful businesses. It's a real chance to put theory into practice.”

Ernst & Young is sponsoring the event and has offered its graduate intake to mentor the teams, which have also been tasked with pitching their business ideas to company bosses. The student teams also have to present their digital marketing strategy to marketing consultancy The Eleven, which will pick the best team who will then spend a day with them.

Martin Cook, managing partner commercial, UK & Ireland at Ernst & Young (EY) commented: “EY has a long standing relationship with entrepreneurs; we’ve been running our global Entrepreneur Of The Year (EOY) awards programme for over 27 years. But UniPopShop is a great opportunity to help inspire the business leaders of the future. Our graduate trainees will be on hand to provide coaching and advice, and students will also be given the opportunity to meet some of our former EOY award winners. I’m really excited to see what they can come up with.”

Find out more about UniPopShop at www.unipopshop.com

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