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Team leader, Alexandra Nicholson-Evans, holds the trophy
High spirits as the winning team celebrate their two prizes

Press Release - 24 April 2007

University students win national awards for local entrepreneurship

A team of six students from the University of Bath has won two awards in the national finals of a student enterprise competition for their work on social projects that empower people locally and abroad.

The annual competition is run by Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to nurturing entrepreneurial skills including market economics, personal success skills, financial literacy, entrepreneur skills and business ethics.

The Bath students - Alexandra Nicholson-Evans (Social Sciences), Bokani Tshidzu (Politics with Economics), James Jardella (Engineering), Alexa Bellingham (Modern Languages), Fatima Bakare (Pharmacy & Pharmacology), Nilima Ajaikumar (Mathematics) and Nicholas Elliott (Management) - won Rookie Champion of the Year and the Spirit of Enterprise awards for their range of projects.

The students were presented with their awards at a ceremony in London on Friday 20 April.

The team, which has only worked together for six months, has launched six successful projects so far:

Life 1:1 targets homelessness in Bath by providing support and training on a one-to-one basis. Supported by Julian House, the local Bath homeless shelter, the project provides training in skills such as interview technique, writing a CV and money management to help homeless people get back on track and into employment.

The Halfway Cafe has been designed to break the vicious circle that many unemployed people find themselves in: you can't get a job without work experience but without a job you can't gain work experience. The Halfway Cafe will provide openings to receive training and to get work experience.

Another project, Travellingbug, offers an alternative service for volunteers who want to work in developing countries but can’t afford the volunteer holiday packages currently available. The team are working closely with a charity, which works for social justice, equality and peace throughout Bolivia, and have recruited and trained 10 volunteers to work for the charity this year.

The aim of Esperanza Economica is to enable Bolivian women to sell their unique handmade jewellery to students in the UK in a fair and sustainable way.

Closer to home, EnterPrize, is a project designed to encourage secondary school pupils to develop skills in entrepreneurship by preparing a business idea and pitching it to a panel of judges. The team of University students will run workshops with Year 9 pupils in three local schools and the pupils will deliver their final pitch at the 2007 SIFE Student Enterprise Conference, which the team is organising at the University in November.

Alexandra Nicholson-Evans, team leader, is a second-year Social Sciences student at the University. She said: “‘We are absolutely thrilled to have won. The judges told us that we had achieved in six months what other teams had done in three years.

“We are a very passionate group – everyone involved runs a project that really means something to them. The judges were impressed by the diversity of our skills – we’re not a team of business students, just students who have a real belief in the projects.

“The next step for us is to develop the projects in the next 12 months and go on to the SIFE world cup in Beijing next year.”

Siobain Hone, Student Enterprise Co-Ordinator in the Students’ Union, said: “The students worked incredibly hard on their projects and put together a very professional presentation for the judges.

“Their projects show that enterprise is not just about making money; social entrepreneurship is an important way of making a difference to the lives of people here and abroad.”

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