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Conference organiser, Aimee Cubitt, in the Student Enterprise Centre
Conference organiser, Aimee Cubitt, in the UoB Student Enterprise Centre

Press Release - 08 November 2005

Conference aims to encourage the spirit of business enterprise in students

More than 200 students from across the UK will be arriving at the University of Bath later this week to take part in the first ever national conference on student enterprise (11 November 2005).

The free one-day conference, which kicks off National Enterprise Week, aims to encourage more students to think about starting their own business as their studies come to an end.

Students at the conference will get tips and ideas from leading entrepreneurs, and will have the opportunity to develop their business skills in practical workshops, including an ‘elevator pitch’ competition.

The University has developed a strong reputation for encouraging student enterprise, with one graduate recently named as the Daily Telegraph’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year for a business idea developed whilst studying at Bath (see recent press release in related links).

“Students are very bright so it is natural that many of them would make excellent entrepreneurs,” said Siobáin Hone, Student Enterprise Trainer at the University.

“We hope the conference will give the students who take part the confidence to think that they don’t have to wait until they are in their 30s or 40s before starting a business.

“There is actually lots of help available to students right now if they have a strong enough business idea.”

The conference is being organised by the University of Bath Student Union’s entrepreneur club, Banter.

One of the group’s members, 22-year-old psychology student Felix Cohen, spent the summer setting up his own cocktail bar in Pembrokeshire and will be hosting an alcohol-free cocktail bar, endorsed by Red Bull, as part of the conference.

“I think it is very important to spend your time at University developing the skills you will need in later life, and not just acquiring an education,” said Mr Cohen.

“Like many other students I have spent a number of years working behind a bar, but when I heard that someone in St David’s [Pembrokeshire] wanted to set up a cocktail bar I got in touch with them.”

Mr Cohen persuaded managers at the Cwtch (pronounce cutsh after the Welsh word for ‘hug’) bar and restaurant that he was the person for the job, and started developing a special cocktail menu, designing the bar layout and arranging promotional activities.

“We have used local produce to create a very distinctive menu which includes favourites like Strawberry and Basil martinis and fresh Oysters with Bloody Mary shooters; it’s a long way from screwdrivers and sex on the beach,” said Mr Cohen.

“We have had to establish the right ambience for the place, and persuade local people to pay more for the quality we offer.

“It has been a great success, and I still go back for the occasional weekend shift and promotional Felix Nights at the bar.”

After graduating, Mr Cohen hopes to use the experience to develop his own company, specialising in ‘laying down’ new barrels of whisky to commemorate special occasions, such as the birth of a child, in the future.

The conference is supported by the University of Bath, SET Squared Partnership, Bath Spa University, RDA Business West and Red Bull.

The University of Bath is one of the UK's leading universities, with an international reputation for quality research and teaching. View a full list of the University's press releases: