Business students meet Apprentice star

Apprentice hopeful Katie Bulmer-Cooke stepped into Lord Sugar’s seat on Tuesday (November 18) when our enterprising students pitched their business ideas to her as part of Enterprise FEST 14.

The star of the hit BBC show has felt the wrath of business mogul Lord Alan Sugar but got her chance to grill our young business hopefuls at the University of Sunderland event which coincided with Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Keen to return to the roots of her enterprising success, Katie, a BSc Sports and Exercise Development graduate from the university, was one of the key speakers at its flagship Enterprise FEST, which aims to launch the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Katie joined a challenge called The Ideas Factory, which saw four Gateshead College Level 3 Business students join forces with their peers from colleges across the region to pitch a new business idea to an expert panel.

Katie said: “My time at university was brilliant and what I learnt most from doing a degree at Sunderland was how to manage time really well.

“I managed it around working and studying and it taught me that if you really want something anything is possible, but you do have to work really hard in order to achieve it.

“Weaving enterprise into student studies is massively important – it’s never been more difficult to get a job so if students know how they can go out there and make it for themselves I think is crucial.”

The Ideas Factory is one of several business support events and seminars at the Enterprise FEST, which runs from 17 to 21 November. Other topics covered include social enterprises, how to attract funding, tips on going for a pitch, the power of marketing and business planning.

Enterprise FEST 2014 is organised by The Enterprise Place, a dedicated facility for student and graduate start-ups at the University of Sunderland, which is backed by the European Regional Development Fund.

Sponsored by Gentoo, the event is supported by industry experts including the North East Business and Innovation Centre, social enterprise champions SES and design and marketing company everything-Different.