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Europe’s largest student entrepreneur event comes to Liverpool

January 31, 2015 by Guest contributor

Europe’s largest student entrepreneur event comes to Liverpool{{}}More than 800 students will be in Liverpool this weekend to attend the Student Enterprise Conference 2015, which is hosted by the National Association of College & University Entrepreneurs (NACUE) and supported (for the second year) by Santander.

At the conference, which will take place at Liverpool John Moore’s University’s Redmonds Building in the city centre, students will be able to meet some of the UK's most innovative entrepreneurs and businesses, including 2014 BBC Apprentice candidate Ella Jade Bitton and Julien Callede, founder and COO of Made.com.

Exciting and successful

NACUE chief executive, Johnny Luk, comments: "We work with thousands of students every year and they increasingly want to create something that leaves a mark. We're giving young people the opportunity to engage with not only experienced entrepreneurs and business experts, but some of the most exciting and successful companies of today."

The conference is now in its sixth year and it has grown to be the biggest of its kind in Europe, say its organisers, “bringing together students and graduates from colleges and universities across the UK for a weekend of inspiration, discovery, networking and practical workshops. Whether they are launching a business, in an entrepreneurial society or just looking to meet like-minded students, this event has something for everyone,” they promise.

Supporting student entrepreneurs

Research carried out by YouthSight on behalf of Santander suggests that about 80,000 UK university students run businesses and a quarter of them plans to turn their business into a career when they graduate. Simon Bray, director of Santander Universities UK, says: "It's so important to support and encourage entrepreneurship – especially among young people. Student entrepreneurs are key to the growth and prosperity of our economy and many of them will innovate, define and lead our future."

Banco Santander, through the Santander Universities Division, maintains almost 1,200 collaboration agreements with universities and research centres all over the world. Since 1996, Santander Universities has been the focus of the Bank's social action with an investment of more than €1 billion in various initiatives and university projects. In 2014, the Bank invested €130 million to support higher education.

Santander Universities was introduced in the UK in 2007 and the bank is already collaborating with 77 British Universities and Higher Education Institutions, with agreements focused on promoting international exchange, entrepreneurial activities and the mobility of students and researchers within the network.

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Hiring interns: top tips

June 10, 2014 by Guest contributor

Hiring interns: Dos and Don'ts/Work experience{{}}I co-founded the cleaner-booking platform Mopp in April 2013. For us, hiring interns (ie a student or trainee who works in order to gain experience or satisfy requirements for a qualification) has been a great way to help grow the business while staying lean. But how do you find great candidates and motivate them to really contribute to your business?

DO

  • Write a standout job ad. Show you’re offering an opportunity to shine, not just do the grunt work. We’ve made statements such as: “This is an awesome opportunity to really make a difference. You will not just be a cog in the machine, we really want you to show us what you can do.”
  • Try different sites. We’ve used Workinstartups, Internwise, and UKStartupJobs, which were great. Inspiring Interns, a specialist agency, is another option, but you'll need to pay them as well as the intern.
  • Set them a test. Before we hire an intern we always ask them to submit a piece of written work (if it’s for a content role) or test their phone skills if we need them to be confident on the phone. At the end of the day they will also play a role in representing your business, so you need to be sure they are up to the job.
  • Consider apprentices. Depending on your business, this is a low-cost option that could be great, as long as you have the time to train them. We’ve used JustIT and have some great young apprentices on our team.
  • Set targets. Give your interns real projects to own and set them targets. We track our interns’ results weekly, from PR leads generated, to blog posts written, to social media traffic generated. It helps them focus and feel motivated to excel.
  • Involve them. Make them feel a part of the business you’re building. Our interns are involved in everything – from company socials, to team presentations, to planning the new office design.  
  • Teach them. Taking the time to teach your interns new skills will motivate them, while taking the burden off your staff. We do a one-hour training session once a week on topics from Google Analytics to search engine optimisation.

DON’T

  • Be too busy to manage them. If nobody has time to manage your interns, they won’t grow in skills or confidence – and they won’t be able to bring value to your business.
  • Expect them to know everything. Hire people with the ability to do the job, but teach them the skills so they can develop into an indispensible team member.
  • Micro-manage. Allow your interns the room to solve their own problems. It’s the best way to learn – otherwise you will end up doing all their work yourself.
  • Undervalue them. This is an obvious, but important, one. You can get some really bright, enthusiastic candidates that in the right environment can be real assets to your business. Just make sure they don’t feel like all they’re doing is making the teas and coffees.

Blog written by Pete Dowds, co-founder of cleaner-booking platform Mopp.

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