Students at Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff University and University of South Wales took part in a 40-hour entrepreneurial challenge from February 20th to 22nd with the aim of developing their entrepreneurial skills and making as much profit as possible from the seed money they were awarded with. This formed part of a four day skills development programme called Ignite which was funded by Welsh Government under the Big Ideas Wales project.
The students traded from four Cardiff-based locations – Cardiff Indoor Market, Queen's Arcade, The Royal Arcade and Mermaid Quay, selling a range of items from Indian sweets to hangover survival kits. Working in teams the students were responsible for sourcing the products, dressing their retail unit and promoting the business to prospective customers.
This followed two full days of interactive workshops and presentations aimed at equipping students with the entrepreneurial skills they need to develop a new business or to land their dream job. The programme enabled students to develop their team working skills, creativity, problem solving, financial management, business planning and ideas generation.
During the first two days of the programme the students benefitted from the knowledge of the enterprise staff at each of the universities as well as key insights from local entrepreneurs and business professionals. They were also given several opportunities to develop their business idea in their board meetings where they worked as teams to generate creative ideas and to plan for their 40 hour challenge.
The first two days of the programme culminated in a group pitching activity in which the students presented their ideas to a panel of entrepreneurs and business experts. The students pitched for their share of a £1000 seed fund and also for their choice of trading location.
The students were then given until midday on Sunday to make a return on their investment. The winning team made a profit of £155.61 selling Indian sweets from a retail unit in Mermaid Quay. All students were very positive about the experience and commented that Ignite had given them the practical experience of running a business and the confidence that they can achieve anything if they put their mind to it. The students also fed back that Ignite was a great opportunity to build their network and develop their team working and communication skills.
Denista Encheva, a second year Business Information Systems student at Cardiff Metropolitan University commented: 'Ignite challenged me to show the very best of what I've got and this inspired me in ways I never thought possible. It throws you into the vortex of a demanding and time-bound project, opportunities, thrill and anticipation and great people who become your friends for life... The experience of Ignite is beyond incredible!'
Cardiff Met's Entrepreneurship Education Manager Natasha Hashimi commented: 'This is the ninth year that we have run Ignite and every year we are really encouraged to see so much enthusiasm from the students. This was the first time we had run the challenge over 40 hours and with retail units for the students to trade from and we were really impressed with the team work and entrepreneurial mindset that the students displayed over the four days.'
Notes for editors
Big Ideas Wales is the Welsh Government's Campaign to encourage young people to be more entrepreneurial and help those interested in starting a business take their ideas forward. The Campaign is funded by the European Regional Development Fund.