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Winners of this year’s event: over 40 students took part in this year’s Student Business Pitch Competition at Deloitte’s HQ in London.
Producers of Dragons’ Den may be looking for a new personality to fill Theo Paphitis’s chair but in the ‘real world’ of business, an even bigger search is underway.
Across the country, corporates are looking for the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders who will drive the UK economy forward and they are increasingly working with universities in order to develop them.
An example of this partnership in action will take place next Wednesday (February 27) as SETsquared, joins forces with professional services firm Deloitte for the annual ‘Student Business Pitch Competition’.
The event is led by Enterprise Bath as part of the University of Bath’s ‘Business Plan Competition’. It has expanded in the last two years to bring together the most enterprising students from across the SETsquared partnership universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey.
On Wednesday around 30 students will travel to Deloitte’s headquarters in London for a masterclass in business pitching. Consultants from the firm will teach the youngsters how to avoid flopping, like some of the less successful Dragons’ Den contestants, and show them how to deliver the winning pitch.
Students will then have five minutes to pitch their own business plans and ideas to judges and the winners will receive cash prizes.
The event ends with an opportunity for the contestants to network with Deloitte staff.
Graham Harrison, SETsquared’s Partnership Director, says the ability to convincingly pitch a business idea is vital for all graduates, whether they are looking to set up their own business or join the corporate ladder.
He adds: “The UK has a wide array of entrepreneurs of whom we can all be proud. Indeed, these innovative people are driving our economy forward and innovating during these challenging times.
“However, we need to think of the long-term and if we are to produce another generation of business leaders of this calibre, businesses and universities need to work together to ensure those coming through have the skills that aren’t necessarily picked up in a text book.”
Siobain Hone, who organises the event on behalf of Enterprise Bath, part of the University of Bath Students’ Union, said: “The students get a lot of value out of hearing each other’s ideas and learning from their peers as they pitch. Many of the businesses are aimed at students so it also gives them a chance to test the market reaction.”
Colin Clarkson-Short, a Partner in Deloitte, added: “Helping to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders is high on our agenda and a key reason we are involved in events like this with SETsquared.
“We are always impressed with the ideas, enthusiasm and passion of the students and are looking forward to next week’s event.”
The success of the Student Business Pitch Competition has been proven in the past as a number of students from SETsquared Universities have been headhunted for jobs at Deloitte or gone on to start successful businesses following their pitches.
One of those people is University of Bath architecture student James Boon, who went on to found successful socially responsible business Elephant Branded which has just celebrated its first birthday. He said: “It was a brilliant event to be a part of. Winning some cash was great but more importantly it was really useful to practice pitching. This really helped when I was in front of John Lewis last year. It worked too as we won a big contract to supply our ethically made bags.”
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