Published: 9 March 2020
Four students from the University of Sunderland in London received a cash prize of £500 last week after winning the Santander Enterprise Challenge.
The winning team got the prize after a two-day course at the University, helping students learn the skills they will need to start their own businesses. The event, sponsored by Santander Universities UK, was themed around Smart Cities - the idea of connecting cities through technology. Eighteen students from Business, MBA, Tourism and Health and Social Care courses learned presentation and teamwork skills while solving problems in their cities using technology.
The winners, Maria Magdalena (BA (Hons) International Tourism and Hospitality Management), Paolo Vilano (MBA Finance), Maria De Fatima Lomba Do Amaral (MSc Tourism and Hospitality) and Helena Baafi Mensah (MBA Human Resource Management) decided to look at of knife crime in London. Their idea was to create an app that can detect threatening words and automatically contact the police.
Paolo, an MBA Finance student said, “I’ve really enjoyed these last couple of days. It’s so important to develop team working and presentation skills. Every student should take advantage of the opportunities the University offers.”
On day one, the students were given their task by Business Mentor at City Launch Lab, Philippa Seal. She worked with all of the groups to give help them come up with their ideas, including business thought tools to improve their ideas into actual business proposals.
Day two was taken up with the presentations, giving the students the chance to practice their public speaking and business presentation skills. The groups were given feedback from the other teams, then went away to refine their plans before the final presentation.
"The Santander Enterprise Challenge provides a unique opportunity for our students from across all programmes and subject disciplines to acquire new, and apply their existing, knowledge and skills to a real-life problem, promoting entrepreneurial thinking and encouraging some of them to start their own businesses.” - Dr Thorben Hänel-Muhs, Senior Lecturer/Programme Manager (Postgraduate Business).
The final ideas were judged by a panel that included Philippa Seal, Internships and Enterprise Manager at the University of Sunderland’s Enterprise Place Laura Foster, Founder and Director at Flourich and Associate Lecturer Leteechia Rungasamy and Career, Employability and Enterprise Manager at the University Alice McDougall.
“In a fast-changing business world, it is important for future entrepreneurs to identify gaps in the market or to develop interesting social entrepreneurial concepts. The Santander Enterprise Challenge has been an opportunity for our students to develop skills in order to do just that.” - Dr GiuseppeCantafio
Winner, Maria Magdalena, a BA (Hons) International Tourism and Hospitality Management student, said “I’m very excited to have won. Because I’m studying tourism, I hadn’t really developed an understanding of business. I’ve found it very exciting and new. For me, teamwork has been the best part. I don’t think I would have won without my teammates.”
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