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16 April 2009
For the second year running, students from universities across south Wales put their collective business heads on with the aim of coming up with an ingenious idea that would make as much profit as possible.
Students from the University, the University of Glamorgan, the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and University of Wales Institute Cardiff spent the week at the University and were challenged with making as much profit as possible from only £50.
The ‘Apprentice’ style challenge saw the team who created the most profit come up with the idea of running a raffle in aid of Cancer Research UK. The team of seven students used negotiation skills developed throughout the week to persuade businesses in Cardiff to donate prizes, and their sales skills to sell tickets around Cardiff. The team secured a pair of Cardiff Blues match tickets to offer as the top raffle prize, raising a total of more than £490 for charity.
Second year Cardiff Business School student Katie Packham who was part of the all-Cardiff winning team said: "I was particularly inspired by the real-life entrepreneurs who came in to talk to us. We learned not to give up at the first hurdle - when people and businesses were unsure about whether they could support us, we made sure that we followed up afterwards. I’ve always quite liked the idea of starting my own business, Ignite has helped give me the confidence to go out there, talk to people, and make things happen".
A total of more than 50 students took up the challenge as part of ‘Ignite’, a week long programme for budding entrepreneurs. The annual event is designed to take students on a journey towards becoming enterprising in their chosen domain; whether this is a business start-up, a social enterprise, the voluntary sector or within an established organisation.
Other teams used the week to raise money on behalf of Oxfam and the Kidney Wales Foundation. Enterprises included club photography, car washing, homemade cookies sale, and organising a charity event at a local restaurant.
Last month the CBI and Universities UK launched a joint report - 'Future Fit: Preparing graduates for the world of work' – which highlights the importance during the recession that students gain vital employability skills and experience of the workplace while at university. New CBI figures have also found that of 581 employers who responded to the Education & Skills Survey, employing (collectively) over 2.5 million people, 78% cited an entrepreneurial mindset as important, and 72% said a "positive attitude" mattered.
Catherine Bushell, University Enterprise Officer said: "It is encouraging to see so many students willing to come forward and give something like this challenge a go. All types of employers are now looking for enterprising graduates who are innovative, can spot an opportunity and show real commercial awareness.
"Ignite and other similar events prove invaluable both in terms of teaching these kinds of skills as well as getting students enthused about the possibility of starting up a business and preparing them for the world of work."
Throughout the year Student Enterprise, which is part of the Research and Commercial Development Division runs a programme of free events covering a range of topics relating to enterprise skills development and starting and developing businesses and social enterprises. It also helps Cardiff University graduates access the Flexible Support for the Business programme funded by the Welsh Assembly Government.
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