Cambridge, United Kingdom, November 28, 2009 --(PR.com
)-- “If you want it, come and get it!”
declared Alex van Someren as he waved a £20 note in his hand. van Someren, a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of nCipher, used his keynote address at The Cambridge Apprentice to remind participants that applying themselves to business with dedication is the key to entrepreneurial success. The emphatic keynote speaker eventually lost his £20 note to a proactive member of the audience, but his message of energy and engagement was clear.
The Cambridge Apprentice, hosted at the Judge Business School on 14 November 2009, is a first for the University and startup cluster, and was organised jointly by Cambridge University Technology and Enterprise Club (CUTEC) and Cambridge University Entrepreneurs (CUE). During the one-day business challenge, over 100 students and young professionals competed to create innovative solutions for start-up businesses. The event was supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and kicked off the clubs’ participation in the 2009 UK Global Entrepreneurship Week.
Speaking to participants, Prof. Alan Barrell, serial entrepreneur, business angel and CUTEC Advisor gave his taken on The Cambridge Apprentice.
"There is real transformational learning happening here today. It isn't a theoretical exercise, and participants are adding real value to real ventures."
At the event, nine emerging businesses and enterprising charities each entered a challenge that they were facing in starting or growing their enterprises, ranging from venture creation and fundraising to product design, marketing and sales. For each challenge, two competing teams of participants were given five hours to pick up the practical skills needed for the challenge and to come up with a winning strategy to address the business problem at hand. Expert mentors, who had given express masterclasses earlier in the day, then determined a winner based on the overall performance of the teams and their final pitch.
Shreyas Mukund, Director of Development at CUTEC explained the aim of creating The Cambridge Apprentice:
"We wanted to give a large number of energetic, smart young people the chance to get a hands-on, immersive experience of what it takes to be an entrepreneur, as a first step towards starting their own real ventures."
Participants created practical solutions for companies and charities within the five hour time limit and in several cases were able to execute their plan as well. Prospect Research, a Cambridge-based telemarketing company, were pleasantly surprised when their teams refined their sales strategy quickly, and then wildly exceeded targets, selling 74 tickets and registering numerous donations for charity fundraisers in support of East Anglia's Children's Hospices.
To hear about other projects and success stories, please visit www.cutec.org.