What exactly is Student Enterprise? Why should I get involved?

Have you ever wondered what Student Enterprise is?  Have you even heard of it?  Perhaps not…  It’s not quite as self-explanatory as the other support offerings on campus: Student Finance, Student Accommodation, Student Welfare…  You may not even be aware it exists at your university (it probably does).

Whether you’ve just secured your place at university for September (congratulations!) or are a returning student, you probably know that university is much more than attending lectures; that’s the minimum you should be aiming for.  There are so many opportunities on campus that it can all seem a little daunting.  What to get involved in?  How much time to dedicate to extra-curricular activities?  How to make sure your studies aren’t affected?  After all that is still the main reason you’re here…

We may be biased but we think you should explore Student Enterprise.  But what is it exactly?  There are many associations that may spring to mind: businesses, entrepreneurs, renting cars, Alan Sugar…and you’d be right but it’s so much more than that.

Student Enterprise isn’t just about running a business at university, although that can be a large part of it.  It’s a collection of activities that offer you the chance to challenge yourself by learning new skills, both personally and professionally.  Enterprising Students are keen to challenge themselves; they are ambitious, eager to learn and broaden their horizons…which sound spookily similar to the reasons you probably chose to come to university in the first place!  Those and the social life…but Student Enterprise can help you there too (see below)!

Enterprise isn’t solely about business but in reality it does tend to revolve around it.  Lots of students will end up working in business after their studies.  Even if you stay in academia you will need to pitch your research ideas to secure grants and funding, and universities need to generate an income.  So getting involved in related activities in a safe environment with lots of support (i.e. whilst a student) makes sense…to us anyway!

Student Enterprise offers lots of ‘learning by doing’ opportunities such as:

  • pitching a business idea (not necessarily your own);
  • learning how businesses work;
  • the ‘boring’ (or not, depending on your interests) financial aspects that are crucial to success (or failure, but that’s part of success and a blog topic for another time);
  • marketing and branding (yourself as well as products)
  • networking with business mentors, fellow students and potential business partners;
  • making friends and having lots of fun!

These are skills useful for starting your own business but also for working in any business.  So if you decide to apply for a graduate scheme, your involvement in Student Enterprise will only enhance your CV.  A lot of graduate employers actively look for involvement in enterprising activities as these skills are highly desirable; you can apply them within any organisation (called Intrapreneurship; another future blog topic!) to improve the way a business runs.

We couldn’t sign off with telling you what The University of Surrey Student Enterprise team offers its students:

  • Workshops and events run by experience entrepreneurs who have ‘been there, done that’ and want to share their knowledge with you;
  • Business challenges and competitions with incredible prizes (cash, trips abroad);
  • Funding to develop potential business ideas;
  • A Retail and office space for you to run your business from on campus;
  • Activities for first years right through to early career researchers
  • Lots of support and advice from a friendly team keen to help.

Have we convinced you to get involved?

For more information about us, visit www.surrey.ac.uk/student_enterprise, visit our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/StudentEnterpriseatSurrey and follow us on Twitter @UoSStudentEnt