“We are so pleased to have our partners Santander supporting us this year and in 2015. A lot of our activity wouldn’t be possible without buy-in from industry and importantly, with businesses like Santander”
February saw NACUE’s (the National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs) fifth annual Student Enterprise Conference (The SEC 2014) take over Sheffield Hallam University for a weekend of networking, action-oriented events and a valuable exchange of knowledge and advice.
Delivered with Santander, 533 students and 51 educators packed out the halls and breakout rooms to interact with a wide range of inspiring entrepreneurs; from the established Russell Hall, co-founder of the taxi company app Hailo, to Bangles, Beads and Bracelets, run by two enthusiastic 12 year olds. Both of these businesses were set up by totally different generations, with completely different experiences, and yet they both have one thing in common: a “can-do” attitude. This is exactly what NACUE and our events are all about!
The SEC 2014 was more than just a conference. It addressed the ever present issue of young people being told that they are leaving education without critical skills. It was important that all of the weekend’s activities supported the personal and professional development of our attendees, from encouraging the building of soft skills; such as confidence, networking, and understanding employer needs; to the hard skills and abilities they need to be more entrepreneurial, including developing ideas, pitching to experts, and even a short introduction to Mandarin (for those thinking about international expansion and exports)!
One of the successes of the conference came from a delegate called Liam, a college student from Manchester. He got in touch with NACUE straight after the event and told us that he had brought together seven of his friends and was about to start an enterprise society named “Infinity”. He plans to connect student businesses with the local business community, including employers and investors, and he is even exploring registering his society as a limited company. This is just one of the many fantastic examples of the innovation we see from our network, who are inspired by their peer groups, and who then go on to inspire others.
NACUE works incredibly hard to support students in becoming more entrepreneurial and to supplement their academic studies with increased opportunities; whether that’s starting their own business, joining an SME, or being more entrepreneurial within a larger organisation. We are so pleased to have our partners Santander supporting us this year and in 2015. A lot of our activity wouldn’t be possible without buy-in from industry and importantly, with businesses like Santander, who believe in our mission and our young business leaders of the future.
We’re already looking forward to the conference in 2015 which promises to be bigger and better but in the meantime, our Startup Career Launchpad Tour commences that will connect SME’s and local graduates across the country.
To get involved with the UK’s enterprising students and find out more about NACUE, please visit our website.
Hushpreet Dhaliwal is the CEO of The National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs, an organisation that works with student-led enterprise societies in 200 colleges and universities across the country. Follow her on Twitter @Hushpreet.