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Southport & Mersey Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 24 September 2007

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THE NEW UNIPRENEURS

MERSEYSIDE STUDENT – A SHINING EXAMPLE OF UNIVERSITY ENTREPENEURSHIP. New Unipreneur Awards will cast national spotlight on student businesses.  The growing number of students starting up their own business whilst studying at university is to be recognised in a new Award to be launched this week and by a new name - The Unipreneurs.

Satish Shewhorak, from the Wirral, Merseyside, along with Michael Siu and Steve Caie, are shining examples of what the Awards are targeting. They turned a dream into reality by setting up moShine – a motion graphics, animation and design business, whilst also running their own interdisciplinary arts nights, after graduating.  moShine enables the 3 entrepreneurs to invest in the highly advanced skills they have learnt whilst at university, as well as enjoying the freedom that such a lifestyle choice permits.

The government-backed Unipreneur Awards, sponsored by HSBC Bank and presented in association with the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship (NCGE), follows a recent study that suggests there could be as many as 80,000 students running a campus-borne business – with some already on the way to their 1st million.

Students faced with mounting tuition fees and inspired by reality shows such as The Dragon’s Den are racking their brains for ways to make money - and succeeding.  For many, that means finding a gap in an existing market and then exploiting it using the Internet to create business empires from their laptops.

The new Awards will showcase some of the most innovative new business ideas that are emerging from the Unipreneurs, either whilst still at university or within one year of graduating - with £20,000 for the best one.

HSBC Head of Business Banking, Huw Morgan, said;- “There is a new breed of young businessmen and women on the block who don’t plan to use a good education making money for someone else – we call them the Unipreneurs and we are keen to support them.  Their academic study has given them an awareness of structure and an appreciation of discipline.  They have an understanding of business plans, finance and strategic thinking. They are analytical, creative, focused and so bring a credibility to their business ventures, that makes them enthusiastic and competitive.  We are delighted to sponsor these unique Awards in association with the NCGE, which will recognise their growing contribution, both to the community and the economy.”

NCGE Chief Executive, Ian Robertson, said;- “The Unipreneur Awards are a timely reminder of students’ new attitudes to employment and business which can be found on campuses around the country.  We are seeing a new generation of young people who are passionate about working for themselves – and they are encouraged by the spirit of enterprise that now exists in universities throughout the UK.  Today’s Unipreneurs are prepared to give their business idea a go - often with a fresh, new approach that has the power to change conventional market thinking.  Entrepreneurship is the engine that drives the British economy and the more we can do to help and inspire these young men and women the better it will be for our future and the wealth of our country.”

Those wanting to enter the Awards have until Friday 23 November to make their nomination online at www.unipreneurs.hsbc.co.uk and could be one of the Top 100 who will go through to the final stages of the competition.

Judges include:
* Huw Morgan, Head of Business Banking, HSBC

* Dr. Lorna Collins, Director, Flying Start

* Emma Crosby, Presenter, Sky News

* James Murray-Wells, Managing Director, Glasses Direct

* Michael Smith, CEO, Mind Candy and Founder of Firebox.com

* Jenny Little, Enterprise Editor, Financial Mail on Sunday

* Professor Robert Blackburn, Director, Small Business Research Centre, Kingston University

Britain’s ultimate Unipreneur will be decided at a gala evening at BAFTA on 23 April 2008, when 5 finalists will be quizzed live on-stage by a panel of experts about their business and why they deserve the first prize of £20,000.  Afterwards, a specially invited audience of 200 guests will vote for the candidate that has impressed them the most, and name the person who will walk away with the title and cash courtesy of HSBC.

To enter the Unipreneurs Awards you must either be attending university or have graduated on or after May 2006. Your business must be no more than one year old at the start of the competition on Monday 17 September. A full copy of the rules are available on the website www.unipreneurs.hsbc.co.uk.

Knowledge may be power, but impact is everything in the North West

'WHO you know’ and what you knowis no longer enough to get a job in the North West, according to a report published by the Chartered Management Institute.  The study, based on the views of 2,229 respondents, reveals that job prospects in the region are increasingly being influenced by an individual’s commitment to their long-term professional development. However, it also uncovers major barriers preventing significant numbers from improving their skills.

The findings show 68% of employers – and 78% of individuals – in the North West believe management qualifications will grow in importance over the next 5 years. Individuals and employers also agree thatproof of academic prowess is no longer a key driver for taking a qualification. Key findings include:

performance enhancer: many employers argue that having qualified managers leads to productivity gains (60%). Most highly valued in the region are MBAs (78%) and Diplomas (72%)

rising reputation: employers also suggest that providing the opportunity to gain qualifications gives the organisation an enhanced professional reputation (70%). 64% also say it boosts their ability to attract staff

movers and shakers: an overwhelming majority of individuals in the North West (97%) are motivated by the ‘portability’ offered by a general management qualification, emphasising a desire to move roles, or cross industry sectors. Their need for ‘transferable skills’ is a key factor behind the desire to ‘get qualified’ (76%).

career passport: 87% of managers in the region believe qualifications will improve chances of employment in the future. 75% also suggested their management qualification improves promotion prospects

According to the research, the majority of respondents (84%) also claim that qualifications improve self-awareness. High numbers focus on how they have helped me deal with interpersonal issues(66%) or improved my business knowledge (84%). 

However, the report shows that desire to secure formal recognition is not matched by action, with only 1 in 5 individuals holding a management qualification.  The study suggests that low uptake is caused by a series of barriers. One of the key difficulties is the complexity of the qualifications system, with 65% arguing too many qualifications exist and 51% agreeing that the different levels are confusing.

Mary Chapman, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute, says:- “The current low level of management skills is untenable, so it is encouraging to see a thirst for change. But as the new Qualifications and Credit Framework is developed, it will be essential to ensure that clear links are established across the various other frameworks. Without doing so the capacity for confusion will increase.”

The report also shows that the most widely felt barrier is the impact of study on managers’ time. Many in the region agreed that it diverts energy from other interests (78%), family (81%) and their work (39%). A significant proportion also said they sought employer investment, with 43% seeking full-funding and 39% looking for partial financial contributions.

Chapman adds:- “Compared to other professions, managers are significantly under-qualified. Yet many are giving the strongest sign yet that they want to address this situation. Significant numbers are looking for training and development as part of their remuneration package and employers should take note of this because by offering professional development they are more likely to retain the top talent and build for the future.”

Running for Red Cross!

HAVE you registered yet? Alexis Fairclough is looking for teams to take part in this years Liverpool 10K run held in Sefton park on Sunday 7th October. Registration forms available direct from www.runliverpool.org.uk or by contacting Alexis, Senior Fundraiser on 0151 702 5061.

Hurry though, places are limited and you have to register your place by 21 September. Red Cross are challenging runners to raise £100 and Alexis is on hand to help you achieve your fundraising target.

Senior Fundraiser Alexis Fairclough, based in Liverpool said:- “It’s sure to be a great day, and I am encouraging anyone from novice runners like myself to experienced runners to take part! Taking part and raising funds for British Red Cross will help provide services to local people such as wheelchair loan, providing first aid cover at public events and delivering humanitarian education to local schools through our youth services team…plus lot’s more!! I’m sure people have seen how we helped during the floods in the summer in the UK and without funds we would be unable to help vulnerable people in crisis situations such as this. It is so important that if you have already registered for the Liverpool 10K and you want to help the British Red Cross, please get in touch and I can help you to help us! Thanks”.

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