LCF’s Student Enterprise Team (SET) is an initiative launched in 2016 to support students to become self-employed entrepreneurs.
The SET Challenge was open to LCF students across all levels in the Autumn 2016 Term. The aim was simple:
‘Preferably working in cross-school teams, your challenge is to make or create or showcase an innovative idea or product or service that can make a real difference to a community or to a consumer of your choice.’
Three finalists pitched their business propositions to a panel of judges having perfected their concepts over a four month period. Contour brand Lara Intimates was awarded Gold and won £5000 to help develop their business.
Development and Delivery
Signage was put up across all campuses and we used all internal channels (Moodle, Email, Course Leaders, Social Media, and Events) to promote the initiative.
From October 2016 to February 2017, LCF’s SET Team arranged a number of skills builds workshops with functional and industry specialists to support students with the development of their ideas and business models. In addition the SET Team organised weekly drop – in sessions with students who wanted specific support with honing their ideas.
Skills build sessions included first steps, legal, finance, and marketing matters as well as how to polish a pitch.
SET Challenge industry collaborators included:
The Challenge saw 72 submissions from 82 LCF students.
As a result of the strong presentations and the reality that all the pitches had the potential to be successful, the prize fund was increased from £5500 to £8500, illustrating how LCF is supporting its entrepreneurial students.
SET Challenge Finalists – Student Testimonials
“The Student Enterprise Team has given me not only the skills but most importantly the confidence needed to start my own business. It is their ongoing support that has enabled me to turn my idea into reality and win funding for my business. Following my graduation in a few months, I will be entering self-employment confident in my abilities.”
“As SET Challenge finalists, the Student Enterprise Team has provided us with the vital link between academia and the real world, and ignited the idea that becoming self-employed is a viable option. They have honed our business ideas though one to ones, exposed us to the opportunity of collaborative working through business boot camps with fellow higher education institutions, and our storytelling and communication skills have been enhanced through tailored workshops. We’ve also really benefited from industry contacts that they have connected us with to help grow our business.
Their support has encouraged a ‘can do’ confidence, creative questioning, and a willingness to bring our idea to fruition.”
Lara Intimates registered their business shortly after the final.
By entering the Challenge, it allowed 82 students to begin their entrepreneurial journey. Before this event we would have not been aware of the student’s ambitions other than through student’s individual courses. Now SET can identify the exact stage each student is at within the start-up lifecycle. Therefore, SET can offer a co-ordinated package of skill builds and bespoke 1-2-1 tutorial support to allow the students to realise their ambitions to becoming self-employed. This is clearly enhancing the students’ overall HE experience as described by the student testimonials.
SET plays a leading role in supporting LCF’s position as a ‘Small Business Charter’ award winner.
In addition to the SET Challenge, over the last 6 months SET has also:
- Supported 5 students to incorporate their businesses and SET will continue to support their future growth
- Signposted 7 alumni to UKTI for export support
- Supported an MA Footwear student, shortlisted as Drapers Student Designer of the year.
- Collaborated with University College London, Loughborough University in London & London South Bank University
- Supported a BA Business student who won a £20k resource package from London South Bank University
- Supported an MA Fashion Entrepreneurship and Innovation finalist in the Mayor’s Sustainable Enterprise £20k Challenge.
To support the incorporated businesses to start up and scale successfully. SET aims to do this by launching our first ever pre-accelerator for these businesses.