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Internal News - 12 December 2006

Speed-date to success with student business plan competition

The latest student business plan competition at the University of Bath kicks off in earnest this week with a speed-dating event aimed at hooking up students with local business experts who could mentor them through the contest.

Students entering the competition stand the chance to win a £1,000 prize and will receive feedback, training and support that helps ensure they are prepared for an entrepreneurial career.

The first stage of the competition involves submitting a 150 word summary of their business idea. These ideas can be in any business area and should be submitted online via the competition website (see related links).

Students taking part in the event can win small cash prizes, awarded on the evening itself. Once the entrants have found themselves a mentor, they can enter round two where they submit their plans online, but have to complete one section in a fun and creative way.

The names of those who have won a place in the final will be announced at a networking event on 28 February 2007, and from there on, the mentors, and extra training sessions, will help students develop a business plan based on their idea.

“At the end of the competition the entrants will have gained networking skills and experience, be able to put together a business plan, and have learnt how to pitch their ideas,” said Siobain Hone, Student Enterprise Co-ordinator in the Students' Union.

“I want every entry to have a mentor to act as a sounding board, offer advice, take them out for a coffee and a chat, introduce them to useful contacts - any or all of these things.

“The idea for this event is for potential mentors to meet the student entrants, and see if they 'click' and would like to mentor them through the competition.”

The Speed Mentor Dating Event will take place from 5.30-7.30pm on Thursday 14 December in the Innovation Centre in Carpenter House in the city centre.

The competition is sponsored by the Alumni Fund, which is supported by donations from graduates of the University, Research & Innovation Services and local accountancy firm Richardson Groves.