See what Plymouth Business School students thought of taking part in @CatalystCourse @embercombe

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Plymouth Business School students were invited to apply to take part in the five day Catalyst personal development and leadership course, delivered by Embercombe: a charity and social enterprise, which is a leadership and sustainability centre of inspiration located in South Devon. Through a rich weave of experiential learning – group challenges, personal reflection, mentoring, peer-to-peer coaching, open space exploration, living in a sustainable community and working on the land – students come away from Catalyst with a deep connection to themselves, the bigger picture and their own leadership potential. 

Catalyst alumni say that the key take-aways from Catalyst are a deep confidence to take themselves forward, and the tools, practices and mind-set needed to navigate uncertainty and make things happen in the world.
In 2015, Sam Mills, studying BSc (Hons) International Business with Spanish, attended Catalyst during the 2015 Easter holiday. Penny Hele, Inspiring Futures Project Officer for Futures Entrepreneurship Centre, said:
“Sam had a brilliant experience and gained transferable skills which will enhance his future employability. In job applications and interviews, he will be able to provide examples of his leadership, problem solving, communication and team working skills. He has also gained greater self-awareness and more confidence.”
As a result of this success, Plymouth Business School gave a further five students the opportunity to attend in Catalyst in 2016:
  • Jiayi Hu (Jessica), studying BA (Hons) International Management – Stage 3;
  • Wilfred Gosden, studying BA (Hons) Business Administration – Stage 3;
  • Roya Vahabzadeh, studying BSc (Hons) Business Management – Stage 2;
  • Congcong Liu, studying BA (Hons) International Finance – Stage 3;
  • Natalia Wielek, studying BSc (Hons) Economics – Stage 3;

and will be funding five more places for Plymouth Business School students, for Easter 2017. These opportunities will be promoted in the new year. For more information contactPenny Hele.

International Finance student attends Catalyst

Congcong Liu, studying BA (Hons) International Finance, was one of the five students selected to attend Catalyst in 2016.

Read more about his experience

Plymouth Business School students attend Catalyst course

Plymouth Business School recently gave five of its students the opportunity to attend Catalyst – a 5 day, residential course at Embercombe

Sam Mills, studying BSc (Hons) International Business with Spanish, was the first Plymouth Business School student to attend the Catalyst course in 2015.

Sam said:

“The Catalyst course helps people understand more about who they are, what their strengths and weaknesses are, giving them tools and skills to make changes and take achievable steps towards reaching their goals.

Embercombe is such a lovely place and provides a great backdrop for the course. It gives people the context of sustainability, working on the land, social enterprise, plus living in a community with other people. The food was absolutely fantastic. It was all organic local produce, much of which was grown at Embercombe. The accommodation was great too. It was good fun staying in a yurt, which was really comfortable and it had a wood burner.

Catalyst has given me more confidence in myself, my skills and my abilities. I will use the skills I have gained in my future career by investing in people, working with their strengths, making sure they have the skills they need to be able to do their job effectively and feel confident in what they are doing. I will also ensure that I incorporate sustainability and environmentally friendly practices into every area.”

Entrepreneurial Students successfully pitch for start-up funding through BETA Enterprise

A monthly subscription service to help people with depression, a social enterprise based around West African cooking, and a way of using technology to improve golfing technique are among the student enterprises awarded funding through a University of Plymouth initiative.

Student travel companies, adventurous team building services and a series of enterprises based around virtual reality have been awarded business start-up grants after impressing judges as part of the BETA Enterprise programme, run by Plymouth University’s Futures Entrepreneurship Centre.

The annual competition encourages budding business innovators to develop ideas in partnership with current academics and successful alumni.

Running from October to May, BETA Enterprise is open to current students at the University, with the potential for them to earn (with support from their Faculty) up to £1,500 in the form of a grant to develop their ideas.

In 2017, 13 student start-ups have been awarded funding.

Amber Strong who runs the BETA Enterprise programme at the University, said:

“It was brilliant to see proactive student start-ups tackling diverse areas such as virtual reality training, coastal sustainability and student travel. BETA Enterprise provides students with a clear programme of support to help them grow and develop their skills business ideas from formation to creation providing mentoring from a variety of business experts along the way. It is an integral part of their university experience and parallels the opportunities that exist within work-based placements.”

Over six hundred students attended BETA Enterprise activities including guest lectures by entrepreneurial alumni, skills development workshops, networking and pitching opportunities over the 2016/2017 academic year.

Additionally, students registered on the core start-up element of the programme regularly met with local business mentors (including the University’s Entrepreneurs in Residence), who were available on a weekly basis.

Students were also able to fine-tune their ideas at the annual Business Plan Hackathon before pitching to the BETA funding panel in either January, March, April or May.

This year’s successful students, awarded up to £1,500 per group to develop their ideas, are:

  • Sophie White – Sending Smiles, helping people suffering with depression and anxiety smile and feel they have a helping hand to get through it;
  • Ian Dawson – Pro Golf Analysis, using technology to provide detailed one to one feedback to improve your golfing technique;
  • Marc Rowbury – Vinyl Drip, upcycling discarded vinyl’s into art for the modern home;
  • James Mugridge, Alex Dodd and Lorelei Smith – SHAKA student travel, a travel company providing adventure sports holidays specifically for student sport societies;
  • Jerome Kennard – ERLY, a student to business/start-up skills match application. Getting students valuable work experience with local start-ups;
  • Stephanie Jasper – Your High Life, Suspended tenting adventure getaways and corporate team-building experiences. Let the experts set up a suspended tent for you, between 4 and 40 feet above the ground;
  • Hannah Fleming – The Monogram Co., minimalist monogrammed tote bags;
  • Ethan Taylor – Callero, Traditional African cooking sauces with a percentage of the profits sent to food nutrition charities working in Senegal and West Africa. Food packed with passion, flavour and social goodness;
  • Tristan Schnegg – City Line Up, a music event App based on a city-by-city focus and great visual booking experience;
  • Nicholas Wade – Nikomus Games. Virtual Reality games development and educational training programmes using gamification;
  • Sam Perriton-Branch, Jake Holland and Corrie Barton – Feisty Crab Studios. Virtual Reality games development with a social focus and retro look;
  • Matthew James, Dan Livings, Jamie Cox – Total Distraction, Virtual Reality games development and potential to create gamification based training programmes for the medical sector;
  • Joshua Beech and Barnaby Hollingsworth – Nurdle – Beach nurdle plastic collecting along local beaches with great international expansion potential and up-cycling of the plastic beach nodules to raise awareness and funds to expand their beach plastic collection capacity.

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