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Press Release - 12 December 2006

Local businesses to speed-date students

Local business people will be speed-dating students this week as part of a competition to improve the entrepreneurial skills of students at the University of Bath (5.30-7.30pm, Thursday 14 December, Innovation Centre in Carpenter House, Broad Quay).

The annual Business Plan Competition encourages students to develop their ideas for a business whilst giving them feedback, training and support to help them develop their skills in business and enterprise.

Part of this involves partnering the students with local business people who can act as mentors, giving them one-to-one advice and encouragement throughout the three month competition.

To help match students up with a suitable mentor, organisers from the Students’ Union came up with the idea of a speed-dating event to launch the competition. Students will spend three minutes with each of the potential mentors at the event, before the business people decide which students they will be able to help most.

The business people come from locally-based companies including: Crisp Cowley (chartered surveyors, estate agents and property consultants), Richardson Groves (accountants, business and tax consultants), and MailboxesEtc (mailbox rental, parcel packaging and worldwide delivery) as well as the Academy for Chief Executives and Research & Innovation Services at the University.

Students entering the competition stand the chance to win a £1,000 prize and will receive feedback, training and support throughout.

“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 first stage of the competition involves students submitting a 150 word summary of their business idea. 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 students 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.

The Speed Mentor Dating Event will take place from 5.30-7.30pm on Thursday 14 December at the Innovation Centre, Carpenter House in the city centre. The event is being sponsored by the Alumni Fund, which is supported by donations from graduates of the University, Research & Innovation Services, and local accountancy firm Richardson Groves.


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: http://www.bath.ac.uk/news/

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