NatWest Employability Prize 2016

For the third year running NatWest Business Banking has sponsored an employability prize for our third year module, Entrepreneurship & Small Business (6010Y).  Module organiser, Graham Manville, also Director of Employability for NBS links it to a piece of group assessment which requires students to develop a compelling business plan for a venture which could operate in the Norfolk area.

Students have to conduct a business environmental analysis, competitor analysis, a marketing strategy as well as a cash flow forecast. It is intended to challenge students and the top business plans that have been assessed in the first class category are shortlisted for a boardroom style presentation. The judging process required students to submit their business plan in advance and deliver a 15 minute presentation to a judging panel plus fielding up to ten minutes Q&A. The panel was composed of NatWest staff including Louisa Wells, the Senior Lending Manager for the East of England (comprising Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire) and Harvey Bishop who is a Business Growth Enabler.

It also included a UEA/NBS module team of Graham Manville and Dimitrios Dousios. Year after year during this process, the NatWest team have commented favourably on the quality of the business plans from our top students and this year was no exception. Louisa is delighted for NatWest to be associated with our module and wants to develop a deeper relationship with NBS.

The sponsorship included prize money for the three top groups, engraved trophies and a celebration networking buffet and award ceremony. All shortlisted finalists were awarded a colour certificate with the NBS logo and the sponsor’s logo. The shortlisted business plans included a Thai Herbal Tea supplier, A University Bike hire scheme along the lines of the “Boris Bike” in London, a Social Enterprise Café supplying healthy meals, a Gluten Free Restaurant, an On-Campus Hairdresser and a University App designed to improve student engagement in lectures.

All of the presentations were of an excellent standard and the following groups scooped the three awards:

Bagel Lab, the Social Enterprise Café won first prize of £250

Natwest 2016 1st

Left to right: Harvey Bishop, Rosemary McLeod, Brooke Clarke, Harry Williams, Isabel Duce, Louisa Wells and Graham Manville.

Unique Hairdressers, were the runner up winning £150 prize money

Natwest 2016 2ndLeft to right: Harvey Bishop, Lucy Binks presenting on behalf of her group, Louise Wells and Graham Manville.

UBike Cycle Hire Scheme were the 2nd runner-up with £50 prize money.

Natwest 2016 3rd

Left to right: Harvey Bishop,  Jamie Fennell, Hao Trinh, Hannah Davies, Chris Drewett, Louisa Wells and Graham Manville.

The success of being a shortlisted finalist enable our students to provide that additional armoury onto the CV in a competitive market place. Moreover empirical evidence has shown that students that engage in these extra-curricular activities, tend to improve on their academic performance.

Written by Dr Graham Manville.

Isabel Duce, on behalf of winners Bagel-Lab commented:

“As part of the module ‘Entrepreneurship and Small Business’, we were lucky enough to have been selected for the NatWest Competition. The group worked extremely hard, the presentation was based on business plan of a Bagel Cafe on campus. The company was to be a Social Enterprise, which is something we all felt really passionate about; donating 100% of the profits to Undergraduate and Postgraduate Scholarships at UEA.

We really wanted to stand out from the other presentation groups, so we used props, such as a bagel platter, posters and created lanyards (displaying our assigned job titles and company logo).  It goes to show that hard work really does pay off. I would encourage all students to put themselves out there and really go the extra mile, especially if you are aiming to graduate with a first class degree.

We are honoured to have been awarded first place. It was a fantastic afternoon celebrating all the groups’ achievements and networking with UEA staff and external business leaders.

We really enjoyed creating the business plan and giving the presentation to the NatWest Team. Not only was this an interesting idea, it has been picked up by The Head of Catering and Hospitality at UEA who is looking to possibly go ahead with the idea. This has been a thoroughly rewarding experience. All four members of the group have enhanced their team working, time management, presentation and business etiquette skills. These skills will be useful for future employment.

Thank you for this opportunity”.

With many thanks to Graham Manville and Isabel Duce for contributing to the NBS blog.

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