Category Archives: Enterprise

Innovative students win start-up grants after completing BETA START-UP business support programme

Ten student businesses have been awarded start-up grants of up to £1,500 after impressing judges as part of the University’s BETA skills development and start-up support programme.

Nine start-ups from Plymouth Business School and one from the School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics received the grants from their faculties, after successful pitches to the BETA panel.

The BETA Enterprise Programme, run by the Futures Entrepreneurship Centre in Plymouth Business School, encourages budding business innovators to develop their ideas with advice from local experts. Running from October to May, the extracurricular programme is open to current students at the University, with the aim of making them more confident, innovative and employable graduates. Participants benefit from free skills development workshops, guest lectures from alumni and networking events, and taking part also contributes to students’ Plymouth Award/HEAR reports.

Judit Mero Hossain and Julia Jaczo pitching First Class Mentoring


The successful students, with businesses focusing on everything from urban bee farming to adventure and sustainable travel, were some of the many that took part in the BETA STARTUP element of the programme this year. The programme gives students access to weekly one-to-one business mentoring from industry experts over the academic year, to develop their ideas. 

The BETA START-UP programme would like to thank all the brilliant regional experts that volunteered their time and expertise to support and guide students with their business ideas through the programme. We could not do it without you!

The University’s Entrepreneurs in Residence Raphael Dennett and Gareth Hart support students on the BETA programme through business mentoring and skills workshops. Gareth Hart, who is also Director of Iridescent Ideas Community Interest Company, was a member of the latest BETA pitch judging panel. He said:

“The standard of the pitches this year was phenomenal. All the students had done meticulous market research and had compelling business ideas. The winners showed a bit more clarity in their business models and thinking. Encouragingly, there were a lot of social enterprise and ethical ideas too.

“This kind of experience is vital for future entrepreneurial or work endeavours. All the individuals pitching showed ambition, drive and delivered professional standard presentations.”

Join the programme or request an application form by email from Amber Strong at the Futures Entrepreneurship Centre.

The successful students and businesses:

James Mugridge (BSc Business Management, stage 4).                                                            SHAKA Student Travel – providing adventure holidays to sports societies


Jessica Derrick (BSc Business, stage 4)                                                                                  Simply Tonga – sustainable tourism trips and gap experiences in Tonga


Debra Yeo (BSc Business Management, stage 4)                                                                      Discover Cornwall – promoting the best events and business offers in Cornwall


James Fortune (BA Business, stage 4)                                                                                  Afortay – connecting music event organisers with high quality venues and equipment


Philip Atkinson (BSc Accounting and Finance, stage 4)                                                      Anchor Weights Ltd – innovative adaptable fitness equipment design


Judit Mero Hossain (BSc Business Management, stage 4) and Julia Jaczo (BSc Nutrition, Exercise and Health, stage 4)                                                                                                                First Class Mentoring – assignment proofreading


Matthew Elmes (BSc Professional Management Practice, stage 3)                                        Pollenize CIC – urban bee farming for corporate social responsibility


Jacob Asghar (BSc Business Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, stage 2)                                  Virtu Design – innovative product design with sustainable materials


Vadims Mahnovs (BSc Business Management, stage 4)                                                          Onitbook – academic year planner


Bogdan Stoica & Radu-Adrian Marcu (BSc Computing & Games Development, stage 4) Resonance Games – unique touchscreen glyph recognition


An engaging and fascinating programme of events

The Festival of Social Science is on this week and I cannot wait to attend some of the talks and events. I cannot choose for you but certainly can recommend one or two. I am especially looking forward to today’s lecture on Purpose-driven Marketing Management, a workshop on responsible entrepreneurship ‘Enterprising Together’, a discussion on ‘The Future of Employment’, the Festival Celebration Event and particularly the radio broadcasts by Radio CogNovia at Red House Radio.


What’s more, via international webinar, a panel of gender and entrepreneurship experts will share with us their research on how entrepreneurs conquer social, political and economic borders. The webinar organised by ISBE Gender and Enterprise Network is scheduled for Wednesday November 8th at 14:00-15:30 GMT.WebinarPartyStaying in the spirit of promotion and marketing, next week, as every year around this time, the University of Plymouth and its partners will present an engaging and fascinating programme of events and workshops to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW).GEW

Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world’s largest campaign to promote entrepreneurship. Each year, it plays a critical role in encouraging the next generation of entrepreneurs to consider starting up their own business, inspiring people to explore their potential as self-starters and innovators.

The list of event I would recommend attending would be excruciatingly long as all of the scheduled events and workshop are equally interesting and appealing. So please choose for yourself by following the link below.

A link to the Plymouth Enterprise Week’s full list of activities from Monday 13th November – Sunday 19th November.

See you at some of the eventsFestivalOfSocScience


Why building and mapping enterprise skills is essential

Hope you all had a fine weekend and feel reenergised for another colourful autumn week that is ahead of us.

Last week, at the Enterprise Conference held at the Futures Centre on Friday 20th October we explored the importance of enterprise skills, soft skills and transferrable skills in education. The conference was organised by Deirdre McMahon, the Head of Business and Enterprise Studies at Devonporth High School for Girls and Elena Novakova from the Futures Entrepreneurship Centre. The conference also provided a platform for secondary school teachers and professionals to exchange knowledge, resources and tools. The skills were examined from an academic, student and business perspective.

We all know that the graduate labour market is extremely competitive and that graduates are now required to evidence additional competencies such as enterprise skills and soft and transferable skills. Research documents that recruiters value extra-curricular experience and look for evidence of soft skills. How do we prepare our students to ever changing and evolving labour market? How can we support the development of those additional skills? A session led by Plymouth University Career consultant Siwan Tyack, offered answers and strategies that teachers can adopt and implement in their school setting. She also emphasised the importance of creating, within a school setting, opportunities in which pupils can gain experience such as volunteering or shadowing. Our second speaker, recent graduate Dan Beattie, currently working for Babcock International, shared his strategy of mapping and developing transferable and enterprise skills throughout his studies at secondary school and at the university.

The second part of the conference was dedicated to a session ‘Developing Enterprising Approaches’ that equipped delegates with practical enterprising tools and approaches for their academic career. Sybille Schiffmann introduced us to creative enterprises concepts and models that expand innovativeness and imagination. Of particular interest to me were some of the interesting resources and concepts mentioned throughout the conference, such as B-Corporations and Aim2Flourish; and books such as 4th Industrial Revolution by Klaus Schwad or The Future of The Professions by R. & D. Susskin.

On Tuesday 17th October, Year 12 and Year 13 pupils at Devonport High School for Girls met Professor Richard Saundry who visited the school to discuss and debate the future Of ‘Good Work‘. In the words of the Head of Business Studies, McMahon “The students were keen to discuss and debate what ‘good work’ will look like in the future and the issues that businesses will need to tackle. The students were especially engaged with the interactive nature of the sessions and enjoyed being able to have an input into the research”. The session provided students with vital insights on the changing nature of the labour market and the future of work. It further helped them to identify key challenges for the management of people in the contemporary workplace; examined the links between the wider economy and the nature of work and employment; and encouraged them to discuss and analyse this information in the context of their own experiences.

Entrepreneur Raphael Dennett inspired students in his workshop on ‘Entrepreneurial Mind-Set’ and encouraged them to reach beyond their own expectations. Raphael strongly believes that one can achieve anything one sets one’s mind to. As I hear him often saying, “not even the sky is the limit”. Is the Universe then?

Coming up this week

Pitching and Presentation Skills Workshop

Wednesday 25th October, Jill Craigie Cinema, RLB, 09:00 – 11:00

A workshop that will leave you equipped with design, pitch and presentation skills. Don’t miss the opportunity to practise, get feedback on a mini-pitch and hear about a wealth of tips to help you to grow in confidence.

Future Events NOT TO BE MISSED

Certificate in Sustainable Business

Saturday 4th November 2017, Babbage Building Room 406, PU Main Campus


Businesses are increasingly looking for employees who are aware of the major influence of sustainability on the business landscape and for many it is an essential requirement. This certified day course is an opportunity for students to gain a broad understanding of the connections and effect of sustainability agenda on business and become more competitive in the job market.

Good Business: Have Purpose: Be Fair: Make Money

Explore the strategy, models and values behind ethical businesses

Thursday 16th November 2017, The Loft, Vauxhall Quay, Sutton Harbour, PL4 0DN, 09:00 – 13:00


Presented as part of Plymouth Enterprise Week, our leading researchers, academics and business colleagues will explore more about the strategy, models and values behind ethical businesses and how running a responsible enterprise can make you more money.

If you are interested in expanding your knowledge about social enterprise and sustainable business or developing your presentation skills be sure to register on some of the above mentioned events.

Don’t forget to put your clocks back this weekend but do not fall back on opportunities




Connecting enterprise skills with innovative fashion

The development of enterprise skills is high on the schools agenda. Enterprise is more than the creation of entrepreneurs, it is about a can-do, positive attitude and equipping people with the confidence to develop a career and vocational interests. Enterprise therefore supports the development of a wide range of work, professional skills and capabilities, including resilience, risk taking, creativity and innovation, as well as a self-belief that starting a business is a viable career choice and one of the most exciting and challenging things a person will ever do (Lord Young, 2014).

Last Thursday, 12th October, Heather Longford and Gemma Westaway, from Plymouth High School for Girls organised an Enterprise Day for Year 8 (120 pupils). Terms such as Business knowledge, branding, corporate identity and marketing were explored via a task related to the world of fashion. Through the task of creating a new product (a fashion garment) students had to be creative, innovative, work under pressure and keep to a deadline. The task allowed students to apply their business knowledge, develop their negotiating skill, and learn about costing, branding and marketing etc. On the day, Plymouth University business student ambassadors helped pupils with their business task and research.

We really appreciated all the business advice and guidance the girls were given by the Plymouth University Business Student Ambassadors. Enterprise activities are a valuable way to develop skills the students will need throughout their careers. They encapsulate our school motto “For Life, Not School, We Learn,” Heather Longford, Careers & Work Experience Coordinator, Plymouth High School for Girls.

The PHSG pupils approached the enterprise activity and the various tasks with enthusiasm and a healthy competitive outlook. Group work, creativity and research led the day into a happy and successful catwalk presentation where a panel judged the best presentation and design.

Economics, business and enterprise education is about equipping children and young people with the knowledge, skills and understanding to help them make sense of the complex and dynamic economic, business and financial environment in which they live. It should help them leave school well-informed and well-prepared to function as consumers, employees and potential employers (Ofsted, 2011).

The rise in entrepreneurial activity has amounted to 600,000 more microbusinesses (firms with 0–9 employees) in existence than there were when the recession first began in 2008, and 40% more than at the turn of the century (Salvation in a start-up? RSA, May 2014.) The young generation is facing an absolutely unique economic and working environment. The most noticeable difference is that today’s young generation is more likely than ever before to set up and run their own business.

At the event, students were divided into groups to work with pals they do not usually get the opportunity to work with. Via group work students learn soft-skills that are crucial for their future employment. Moreover, active involvement in group work reinforces the learning experience further.

It was great to see the girls thriving and enjoying the enterprise day.

Students used various recycled fabrics and other material

Futures Entrepreneurship Centre connecting students, academics, researchers, start-ups, businesses and entrepreneurs

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