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Why entrepreneurship is an important element of degree study

These days going to a top university and getting a first class degree isn’t always enough to impress companies recruiting graduates.

At Bath we’re finding that some of the region’s largest employers are looking towards entrepreneurship groups to find the brightest students with added spark.

Last Wednesday saw the final of the University of Baths Students’ Union Enterprise Department ‘Apps Crunch’ competition, which challenged teams of students to come up with novel ideas for mobile apps.

The competition, which was run as part of Bath Digital Festival, was sponsored by Deloitte Digital. They not only financed the event, their staff also played a central role in mentoring and judging the student teams.

This gave our students a great opportunity to meet with and discuss real app development problems with industry experts, but it also gave Deloitte a chance to meet some of the University’s very best students face to face early in their studies.

During the event four short-listed entries pitched to a panel of tech experts, which included members from Deloitte Digital, as well as local business owners from Bath’s digital scene.

The winning entry came from three mathematics students: PhD researchers Daniel Sutton and Andrea Fernandez, along with MA student Ben Pring. Their dating app WLTM (‘Would Like To Meet’) impressed the judges with its innovative business model and live video-chat function.

The student’s prize package included VIP tickets to elements of Bath Digital Festival, and the chance to work on their app with Bath alumnus Gerard Grech, now head of mobile strategy & content for Nokia.

While this was clearly a fantastic prize, the real benefit for both this team and all the others involved was the opportunity to develop their own company ideas and discuss them with mentors from the region’s best tech companies.

In addition to the formal competition prizes, the students formed mentor relationships, were invited to hack events, given work experience opportunities and in general have made some fantastic contacts.

And the companies involved have the opportunity to work with some very bright young people, helping to shape their learning experience ahead of the time when they’ll come to look for employment.

Being involved in the running of the University of Bath Student Union’s entrepreneurship and enterprise programmes is inspiring – it is great to see what the students came up with in such a short period of time.

There is a huge amount of opportunity for universities and industry to work together to shape the future generation of innovators, entrepreneurs and managers. By developing more programmes like the ‘Apps Crunch’ we can match great students with forward thinking industry mentors for the benefit of all.

We’re always keen to hear from companies interested in getting involved in events like ‘Apps Crunch’. If you’d like to know more please do contact me on l.tregidgo@bath.ac.uk



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