Students take part in a workshop to develop their entrepreneurial skills.
The University of Essex is in the top five for enterprising students according to new rankings put together by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Group.
The RBS Enterprising Students Rankings are designed to recognise how students get involved in university life through organising activities, events, volunteering and fundraising.
The University of Essex Students’ Union is one of the most active in the country and has more than 165 clubs and societies including Enactus Essex, which specifically promotes entrepreneurship and is one of the SU’s ESSA-accredited societies. More than 700 students also volunteer through the vTeam scheme. The University's Employability and Careers Centre also works in partnership with the SU and departments across the University to offer a comprehensive programme of workshops, training and support.
"This ranking highlights the high quality experience that we offer for students at Essex." Nathan Bolton, Students’ Union President
Universities are ranked according to how many societies have received RBS Enterprising Student Society Accreditation (ESSA) and have been nominated for bronze, silver or gold categories in the RBS ESSA Awards.
“We’re really proud to be recognised as one of the best student unions in the UK and this ranking highlights the high quality experience that we offer for students at Essex,” said Nathan Bolton, Students’ Union President.
“Almost every possible interest is covered within our student societies, from arts and music through to religion and politics, giving Essex students unbelievable opportunities to explore their passion at the same time as developing enterprising skills that will help them when they graduate.”
Michael Spencer, President of the Essex Enterprise Group, added: “The Essex Enterprise Group focuses on incubating student start-ups, while also encouraging an enterprising mindset. Our projects include MyWi (www.MyWi.org), enabling wireless within University accommodation.
“It is excellent that Essex ranks well in the enterprise criteria, and I feel that Essex has offered me invaluable opportunities to develop commercial awareness, and I would definitely recommend the ‘Essex degree’ to budding entrepreneurs!"
David Stanbury, Director of Employability at Essex, said the University worked closely with the SU and undertook a huge amount of work to support students to reach their potential, develop their entrepreneurialism and turn their business ideas into reality.
He said: “The University of Essex aims to help all our students become graduates who are enterprising and prepared for the future by having an enterprise strategy that takes students through all stages of the process from having an idea to launching their own business.
"Our success in the RBS ESSA rankings is testimony to the rich range of enterprising activities we offer and the effective encouragement and support students get throughout their time at Essex." David Stanbury, Director of Employability
“In a fast changing world, students need to be flexible, adaptable and able to innovate. Enterprising attitudes are important whether students want to set up their own business, join a company or work for a third sector organisation.
“Our success in the RBS ESSA rankings is testimony to the rich range of enterprising activities we offer and the effective encouragement and support students get throughout their time at Essex.”
Consultant Carol Collins, one of the many business experts who visit Essex to lead enterprise sessions and workshops, praised the attitude of Essex students. She said: "The students were attentive, keen to participate proactively and offered thoughtful and very relevant questions. I was not only impressed with their future plans and ambitions, but with their charm and ease of conversation - social skills that are so necessary.”
Support offered to students includes:
- A dedicated Student Employability and Enterprise Manager.
- One-to-one coaching and mentoring with students including intensive work with student societies.
- Targeted mentoring for international students.
- Expert business coaches to support students to take their ideas to market.
- Weekly enterprise workshops with inspiring speakers from a diverse range of business backgrounds.
- Weekly Start-up workshops covering practical steps to setting up your own business.
- A dedicated enterprise facility at Colchester supported by Santander and heavily used by student societies for business planning meetings.
- Essex Boot Camp – teams develop and pitch business ideas to leading entrepreneurs in a Dragons Den style competition for £1,000 seed corn funding.
- Essex Apprentice scheme – a task based competition aimed at encouraging employability and business skills.
- Whole university is engaged with encouraging students to be enterprising through internships, frontrunners and placing contracts with student groups where appropriate.