It’s been a while since I wrote my first blog post and I am itching to share with you all the latest news and goings on here at USE. I am settling into my role quite well and since those first few hairy weeks of getting my head around what enterprise is, it’s been full throttle, with lots of exciting and interesting events and projects…
As the summer fades in and the majority of students have left to go home or travel sunnier climes, the USE team are busy slaving planning new ventures and collaborations for the year ahead. So, as a round up of all the things happening here I’d like to kick off with a massive welcome to our new summer interns, Beth Porter an International Relations and Politics student, and Maria Gourmou, an English Language and Linguistics student, from our international faculty in Greece. Make sure to check back soon for their upcoming blogs which I know will be great reading! Following on, I’d like to also welcome our new Marketing Officer, Daniel Cooper aka ‘Daniel-Son’ (his mum is a Karate Kid enthusiast), who has joined us from the AMRC, he’s settling in nicely and making himself quite at home at his new desk which is conveniently located next to mine, so at least I have someone who will listen to my jibber jabber (lol).
Pleasantries over, let’s get down to some business. Each year, University USE works with academic staff and students to create opportunities for, and to support the development of, enterprise skills and entrepreneurial ideas. We understand the level of commitment, passion and drive that goes into making ideas happen. In recognition of this, in 2014, USE established The University of Sheffield Graduate Award for Enterprise, to recognise a student who has shown outstanding attainment in Enterprise, as measured by the impact of enterprise activities undertaken during a students’ university career. I would like to thank everyone who nominated, I really enjoyed reading all of the applications and the achievements of our students. The winner of this year’s award goes to Fiona Unwin an undergraduate student studying BA (Hons) Community Policy and Practice, for her professionalism and drive to enthuse others to learn. This has now been strategically recognised and places her in the position to advocate strongly and boldly for inclusivity. Congratulations Fiona on behalf of all of us here at USE, we hope you continue to aspire to achieve great things and wish you the best of luck in your enterprising journey!
On the subject of awards and winners, big up to the OverHear team, consisting of Guy Balaam, Alex Millward, Ben Hooper, Robin Hartley and Winnie Simon, who won the Startup Weekend: Music and Literature in partnership with Santander Universities. OverHear is an app which simplifies finding and attending gigs and music events. They have just confirmed that Tramlines is officially partnering with them to launch their app for the festival. Please support them by signing up for their app, available to download on Android and Apple.
Last but definitely not least, massive congrats to University of Sheffield graduate Lauren Nicholson for securing a coveted £2500 investment in a competitive Dragons’ Den style pitching competition. The event was part of an investment readiness programme, supported by the West Yorkshire division of the Institute for Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). Lauren secured the investment in her business Remember the Date, an online greetings card company which allows you to buy all the cards you want to give for the rest of the year in one go. Lauren then posts you said cards a couple of days before each birthday, ready to be signed and given.
Lauren said: “The support I have received from USE has been vital in helping me win the ICAEW President’s Award, especially in terms of giving me the opportunity to practice my pitching skills, but also to develop the idea in general.”
The Evolve Competition is finally over, the pitching is closed and the winners have been decided BUT not ‘informed’ – all will be revealed at the super swanky Celebration of Enterprise dinner on the 3rd September 2015! Watch this space to find out who gets that big cash prize injection!
USE is really passionate about supporting our students and the societies that they are involved with. Formula Student Racing officially launched their car on 23rd June 2015 at the AMRC, and was well attended by industry experts and passionately pitched by the society’s president Thomas Bloomfield and his team, the car raced at Silverstone’s track last weekend. Well done guys you all worked incredibly hard!
More recently, I have had the pleasure of working alongside Gary Wood, Enterprise Learning and Development Officer at USE, on the implementation of the Transforming Societies Summer School. This was a collaborative project with the Faculty of Engineering and Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore. The Summer School was a two week residential programme, whereby 20 students completed a number of engineering challenges, led by our academics and enterprise educators. The summer school was a huge success for all and cemented a firm friendship between both the universities and the students, facilitators and academics. I have never encountered such discipline and determination in minds of young people and they are clearly going to make a big impact within their future careers and industries. I applaud their confidence and work ethic, and hope that this will be the first of many more. Well done Gary for all your hard work and making us all feel appreciated for our efforts in making this a reality.
Finally, I’d like to mention that I delivered my very first lecture to a group of students on the Discover US summer school, this was an event put on by the widening participation team. I won’t lie, I was really nervous – although I have done tons of delivery and creative facilitation in previous roles, none were as formal as this, so thankfully, it went fine and the young people seemed to have enjoyed it – which is the main thing I guess!
I think that’s about it for now, the sun is shining outside and I’m thinking of an afternoon stroll in Western Park, nothing like a bit of ‘me’ time before the madness of the weekend.
Watch this space for more enterprise entertainment gossip from the USE HQ!