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Students who register early could bag free travel to Cologne
Students who register early could bag free travel to Cologne

Internal News - 22 October 2008

Free travel to Cologne: Register for SIFE conference

Registration is now open to students and staff for the first student enterprise international conference (15 November 2008). The conference has been organised by SIFE and run in partnership with the University of Cologne, where it will be held.

The free one-day conference, titled Student Enterprise ’08, marks the start of Global Entrepreneurship Week (17-23 November 2008) and is the first international conference of its kind. It aims to encourage more students to think about starting their own business as their studies come to an end.

Students at the conference will be offered tips and ideas from leading entrepreneurs, and will have the opportunity to develop their business skills in practical workshops. They will also get the chance to network with like-minded students and experts at a dedicated business fair.

Participants also have the chance to win £1,000, by taking part in an ‘elevator pitch’ competition. The students explain their idea for a social enterprise in less than 120 seconds (the time it takes for an elevator to reach the basement from the top of a 20-storey building). The entries are recorded on video throughout the day and then judged by the panel.

Travel between Bath and Cologne is currently being offered free for students for a limited time and there is also the chance to win free accommodation. Students simply need to submit a community-based business idea and they could win free lodging whilst in Germany.

The event which is likely to attract more than 300 students, has been set up jointly by BANTER, the University’s entrepreneurs club, (which is running the conference as part of the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) initiative) and by entrepreneurial students from the University of Cologne.

Chris Spencer, SIFE Bath Team Leader who helped arrange the conference explains the complexities of setting up a large event in Europe: “The major challenge was organising the event in another country with all the communication issues that involves.

“With fewer graduate jobs available this year it's more important than ever to encourage entrepreneurial spirit,” he added.

“Being involved with Student Enterprise '08 really helps you to stand out from other candidates at interviews and SIFE is a great thing to have on your CV.”

Conference speakers include Gavin Eddy, a former investment banker who runs Forward Space, the innovation centre based in Frome, Somerset, and Nick Elliot, student owner of, a website set up to help students find jobs after they graduate.

“The Student Enterprise ’08 conference is not just about business ideas, we have lots of students interested in starting social enterprises,” said Siobáin Hone, Student Enterprise Coordinator in the University’s Students’ Union.

“The event is organised by the Bath SIFE team, which includes Bath students who have set up schemes helping local women run a juice business for cancer patients in rural India and organising volunteer schemes with charities in Bolivia.

“The conference gives students access to enterprise experts who can help turn their ideas into reality, whether it is to make money or try to improve quality of life.

“More and more students and recent graduates are taking the plunge in setting up their own enterprises, so this conference gives them an introduction to the skills and knowledge they need to make a good go of it once they start.”

Registration for the event is available online (see related links) and costs €10 (students), €30 (members of staff).