Ingenious entrepreneurs showcase pitch perfect skills

Budding business executives of the future put their entrepreneurial expertise and pitching skills to the test at the Student Apprentice competition (16 November 2012) hosted by the University of Sheffield.

Winning Team

More than 70 pupils from across South Yorkshire entered the boardroom to showcase their business initiative and creativity at the Discover Us event organised by the Outreach team.

Working hardThe talented Year 10 pupils undertook a market research focused campus tour and interviewed a number of Student Ambassadors from the University in order to create their own innovative food and drink concept for the new Students' Union Building.

Inspired by the hit television shows Dragons Den and The Apprentice the teams worked with a group of business and marketing experts to create a brand, image and identity for their new refreshment outlets before pitching their ideas to a panel of expert judges from the University's Students' Union, Enterprise Team, Graphic Design Team and Management School.

Pupil Blendina Ajdini, 14, from Clifton Community Arts School in Rotherham, said: "The day was brilliant, it was just like being part of the Young Apprentice but it was better because no one got fired!

"We named our food outlet Sugar Rush and made our design really colourful and vibrant. I really enjoyed conducting the market research.

"Business is something that I really enjoy studying and it was great to get some real life experience of launching and creating our own business product."

The aim of the event was to develop and enhance the youngsters' key enterprise skills such as team work, communication, creativity and problem solving. The day was part of an aspiration raising outreaching programme run by the University entitled Discover US.

The scheme is designed for pupils in Years 9-11 who have the potential to access higher education but do not have a family tradition of going to university.

After great deliberation the judges crowned team Shake it Smooth overall winners for their inventive smoothie shop.

Project manager Taylor Hayward, 14, from Minsthorpe Community College in Wakefield, said: "We wanted to provide a mixture of healthy refreshments and smoothies as well as scrumptious treats. We were delighted to win first prize and I think the key to our success was working well as a team.

"Even though everyone was from different schools we all worked together really efficiently. It was great to meet new people and make new friends.

"The event was a great experience and it was good fun taking a tour around the University."

Michael Dosanjh, University Outreach Activities Officer, said: "We have all been really impressed by the brilliant business ideas of our Discover US pupils.

"It's was wonderful to see them finding out about university life by interacting with our students in the University environment.

"Because of the multi-million pound refurbishment currently taking place in the Students' Union the task was even more true to life which really enhanced the experience. Everyone worked together really well and I'm sure Lord Sugar would be more than happy to hire them all!"

Additional information

A list of schools who took part in the event:
Firth Park Community Arts College, Sheffield
Stocksbridge High School, Sheffield
Clifton Community Arts School, Rotherham
Parkwood Acadmey, Wakefield
Minsthorpe Community College, Wakefield

The University of Sheffield
With nearly 25,000 students from 125 countries, the University of Sheffield is one of the UK’s leading and largest universities. A member of the Russell Group, it has a reputation for world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

The University of Sheffield has been named University of the Year in the Times Higher Education Awards for its exceptional performance in research, teaching, access and business performance. In addition, the University has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes (1998, 2000, 2002, 2007). These prestigious awards recognise outstanding contributions by universities and colleges to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life. Sheffield also boasts five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and many of its alumni have gone on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence around the world.

The University’s research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, Boots, AstraZeneca, GSK, ICI, Slazenger, and many more household names, as well as UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

The University has well-established partnerships with a number of universities and major corporations, both in the UK and abroad. Its partnership with Leeds and York Universities in the White Rose Consortium has a combined research power greater than that of either Oxford or Cambridge.


For further information please contact:

Amy Pullan
Media Relations Officer
The University of Sheffield
0114 222 9859