On Wednesday 7th, Newcastle University students competed in the annual Enterprise Challenge organised by the university Careers Service.
This year the Challenge was organised in cooperation with the multi-national consumer goods company Procter & Gamble, and therefore took place at their Newcastle premises in Cobalt Business Park.
Students from the Schools of Modern Languages, Maths and Stats, and Computer Science were invited to attend.
Attendees were set the task of suggesting modifications to P&G’s current product range to meet currently unmet consumer needs or to address current societal issues. The 20 teams were each able to select a product from P&G’s product range to adjust, with the choice of Gillette razors, Pampers nappies, Fairy washing up liquid and the Flash Mop. Working in groups of five, attendees had to research their selected product to identify gaps in the current market or unmet needs, define a target market for the redeveloped product, develop a prototype, and deliver a business pitch in which they presented their solution.
The hypothetical proposals predominantly focused on making environmentally-friendly adjustments to P&G’s current product range in response to increasing consumer consciousness of making “green” purchases; solutions therefore including the development of disposable nappies and reusable washing up bottles with refilling stations. These proposals and their pitches were then judged by a panel including representatives from P&G, the Careers Service and the three Schools participating.
The activities were complimented by brief presentations on business planning for Careers Service Enterprise Advisor Dr Charlotte Hope. Discussing the success of the event, she said, “The P&G Enterprise Challenge is one of many creativity and innovation challenges that we run across campus. This event gave 60 students from mixed disciplines the opportunity to exercise and develop their enterprise and entrepreneurial capabilities including opportunity spotting, problem solving, team work, communication and presenting. Students are presented with a real world problem and challenged to generate an innovative solution with a business case to support this.
Discussing the success of the event, Dr Hope said, “This was an excellent event and P&G Staff were very impressed with the response of the students including their flexibility, resilience and adaptability whilst working in a pressured environment. All of the skills utilised and showcased by the students at this and our other events help to demonstrate how employable they are and how important these skills are in the world of work.”
German and History student and attendee Sophie Roberson said, “I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the Enterprise Challenge this year. The challenge not only gives you the opportunity to develop a number of skills that all employers look for but also dishes out free pizza! I would highly recommend this experience to any student.”
For students who unfortunately missed out on attending the Enterprise Challenge, Dr Hope explains, “Newcastle University is excited to host its 3rd Health Innovation Day! Funded by EIT Health, a network of best in class health and ageing innovators, Innovation Day offers students the opportunity to develop innovative solutions to real life health based problems. Supported by health care practitioners and entrepreneurs in the health and ageing space, Innovation Day is open to all students! Any discipline, any stage and any university - we welcome students from across the North East.
“The intensive one day event will allow students to exercise their enterprising skills and entrepreneurial mind-set, work within multi-disciplinary teams and compete for prizes including an all expenses paid trip to London to compete in the European Final. This is a pan European event and 18 higher education institutions are hosting an Innovation Day in 2018.
“This year the focus is “Innovative Homes for the Future: Smart Houses to support an active and ageing society”. For more information please contact Dr Charlotte Hope on firstname.lastname@example.org”