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Apprentice Challenge Returns to Aston University

Apprentice Challenge 2017
Winners of this years National Apprentice Challenge

The National Apprentice Challenge took place for the fifth year at Aston University this month. It was an intense weekend for the students and Newcastle University were crowned the winner. They received £1,000 prize and six months mentorship from the co-founders Simona Popa and Sep Eslahi, serial entrepreneurs and mentors of the Queen Young Leaders Programme. 

The National Apprentice Challenge brought together 80 students from 11 universities across the UK. In total there were 54 undergraduates and 26 master students with very diverse backgrounds ranging from MSc in management and entrepreneurship to marine zoology, international law, mechanical engineering, product design, medical engineering, business and politics, marketing & PR, finance and entrepreneurship. 

Over the course of the weekend students took part in two intensive challenges including running a virtual computer games company for the equivalent of six years in a simulated yet dynamic market, with very realistic changes in the market including the impact of Brexit in 2019. 

The second task was to develop a marketing and sales campaign to be implemented by a real start-up. The students had to understand the needs of their customers and develop business strategies in order to gain as much market share as possible. The company: a start-up called Pelico developed by students from UWE, aims to disrupt the way people eat, making healthy choices accessible. The students pitched their plans in front of a panel of serial entrepreneurs and high calibre judges.

In addition students received training on building a mind-set for success and overcoming fears. Throughout the programme there were also numerous networking sessions to encourage the participants to meet like-minded individuals.

Carolyn Keenan, BSEEN Project Manager commented: “It is a great honour to host the National Apprentice Challenge again at Aston University. It is fantastic to see how the programme has grown and developed over the last five years, since starting out on the BSEEN programme at Aston University. Each year we get very positive feedback from the students. It really helps to develop their enterprising mind-set.” 

For more information about student and graduate enterprise support at Aston University email enterprise@aston.ac.uk