The battle is on to find the best student entrepreneurs in an Apprentice style selling task.

Organised by the University of Bath, UniPopShop will give students a taste for social enterprise and give them great experience to take into a crowded job market.

Eighteen teams from 15 universities across the country are taking part and each team of five students has been given a £300 start-up loan, a business mentor and the use of a stall in London’s historic Spitalfields Market to sell their social enterprise products.

The big selling day is on Tuesday 25 June when the teams have just eight hours to sell as much as they can, with money going to the social enterprise of their choice to support its work. And winning teams will be presented with an array of exclusive money-can’t-buy prizes from UnLtd, digital agency The Eleven and Ernst & Young.

The event has been organised by the university in partnership with the foundation for social entrepreneurs UnLtd and HEFCE, the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

“Nowadays students need more than a good degree when they leave university. We’re giving teams a unique opportunity to test out how entrepreneurial they really are,” explained Siobain Hone, Enterprise Education Manager at the University of Bath’s Student Union.

“This contest shows the true entrepreneurial spirit of today’s students and gives them a great opportunity to test out and develop their leadership, marketing, creativity, financial and problem solving skills – all vital in enhancing their employability. Whatever they want to do when they graduate – whether or not they are interested in being social entrepreneurs – they will learn how to build and run successful businesses. It’s a real chance to put theory into practice.”

UnLtd Lead Partnership and Support Manager, Lauren Croll said: “UnLtd is delighted to be University of Bath’s partner to bring social enterprise student start-ups into the spotlight. Our work is all about helping passionate, entrepreneurial individuals for whom positive social and environmental change is as important as financial profit, and we’re seeing many of the next generation of social entrepreneurs coming from UK Universities.”

As well as selling for a day, the students also have to come up with a digital marketing plan in advance to create some buzz around their products. And they have to present these plans and their approach to the task to bosses from Ernst & Young, which is sponsoring the event, and The Eleven.

Offering inspiration and advice after the event will also be the former winner of BBC1 series The Apprentice, and Bath alumnus, Tom Pellereau, who will share his entrepreneurial journey with the students.

So if you’re in London – and anywhere near Spitalfields on Tuesday 25 June – then why not drop in and support these entrepreneurs of the future.

Find out more about UniPopShop at www.unipopshop.com

Published by Richard Patey

Internet marketer, author, publisher, snowboarder and editor of this blog.

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