North-West Regional Student Apprentice Finalists Are University of Manchester
On the 26th of April 2013, the Student Apprentice Northwest Regional Final, organized by Manchester Entrepreneurs, hosted three teams from Manchester, Lancaster and Liverpool. They took part in a three day challenge, testing the contestant’s skills and knowledge in marketing, sales and business planning. Each team had four members representing their respective universities. The team from Manchester were winners who were selected from The Manchester Apprentice event, organized a week before. As much as learning about business practices, networking and good old fun were the objectives of this event, arguably the biggest incentive for each team to bring their hardest game was a handsome 1000 pounds prize to be divided equally amongst the emergent winner.
On the first day, the teams were asked to briefly introduce themselves, before Anna Sapegina, Vice President of the ME society ran the teams through the first day’s task, a Sales Challenge. Each team were given an equal number of Manchester Beenies and T-Shirts (designed by Pieboy Clothing) and small and large packets of UPs, which are caffeinated, strawberry flavoured sweets to sell. The aim was to basically make as much money as possible in four hours by selling these items at prices determined at each team’s discretion. Teams went around Manchester flogging their merchandise on the streets of Piccadilly Gardens, around Manchester University and other places in Manchester with the guidance and supervision of members of the Manchester Entrepreneurs committee. At 4pm after all teams reported back, the money earned by each team was counted, refreshments and pizza were served and lively conversation describing the highlights of the day took place.
Returning back for the second day’s challenge well rested and in high spirits, the teams were briefed by Steve Bartlett, founder of Wallpark, regarding their second challenge. Regarding Wallpark, it is an online based company which provides universities, student unions, students, businesses and other organizations the opportunity to share and extract specific information with strangers. The marketing challenge was to create a viral video within a 3 hour timeframe to promote Wallpark to the wider UK community. The videos were to be 2 minutes long and teams had the help of professional video editors to help them edit their material. Teams set out to Owens Park Campus in Fallowfield, around the university campus and in ‘University Place’ to shoot. After editing, the teams presented their work in front of the judging panel. The videos presented were very creative to say the least. One team’s video showed a reel of participants in the video pouring milk over their heads whilst another showed captured moments of pranks being played on random people.
The third and last day was a social challenge designed to test the participants business planning and presentation skills. Teams were asked to identify, from the social statistics about the drinking culture in the UK, a social enterprise opportunity that might exist. Each team then had to design a business plan which had to be convincingly presented to our judges. The panel consisted of Tom Barlow and James Saoulli from Rullion Group, Will Akerman from MyKindaCrowd and last year’s winner Chris Johnston.
Despite having just 3 hours to prepare, the judges and all who were present had much to compliment the contestants after the presentations were done. There was an after party hosted byCISCO after the presentations to commemorate the end of the three day event. During which, a short presentation by CISCO about their company and the announcement of the winner of the competition took place. Overall, it was the Manchester team which took home the grand prize of 1000 pounds and a chance to compete at the upcomingNational Student Apprentice Finals.