Essex: Success for university team in RBS Enterprising Student Society Accreditation Awards

Members of Enactus Essex with their Gold award at the RBS ESSA Awards

Members of Enactus Essex with their Gold award at the RBS ESSA Awards - Credit: Archant

A team of students from the University of Essex was among the winners at the RBS Enterprising Student Society Accreditation (ESSA) Awards.

Enactus Essex won a Gold award and the Best Professional Development Programme title, carrying a prise of £2,500, in recognition of its use of business skills to help disadvantaged people to take control of their lives.

The awards are sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group and organised in partnership with Find Invest Grow (FIG), a venture capital firm focusing on the student and recent graduate market.

They aim to reward and recognise innovative skills used in running successful student societies and this year attracted more than 140 entries from universities across the UK.

The winners were announced by Ian Livingstone CBE, the founder of Games Workshop, at an awards ceremony at FIG village in West London attended by more than 300 guests.

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Anjum Pathan of Enactus Essex said: “The awards evening itself was amazing. It was an informal evening with other successful societies but also a chance to meet many successful business men and women. It was a chance to meet new people and build contacts so the chance itself of being there was great.

“We hoped to win an award but when looking at all the other societies we were up against that had been active for many years, I didn’t think it would be such a great Gold award. It was a nice surprise and felt even better when we were told by the graduate recruiter of RBS that we deserved it.

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“Enactus Essex does not only focus on the business aspect of life but we wish to use business skills to help disadvantaged people take control of their lives. We like to create opportunities for people so they can thrive to be the best.

“The money was a great part of the award because the five projects we are currently working on require funding. The money will be used for our projects and this could range from either getting start up materials for a workshop or capital money to help start a business.”

James King, director of FIG, said: “The awards celebrate the incredible and diverse activities carried out by student societies across the country and we were blown away with the quality of the entrants this year. It’s also fantastic to see how societies have evolved over the past year.

“With the employment landscape becoming increasingly competitive, it is more important than ever to recognise and reward the achievements of the UK’s most enterprising students.”

Mike Maddick, head of early careers at Royal Bank of Scotland, added: “It was fantastic to see such a wide variety of applicants, and the standard was immensely high.

“The RBS ESSA Awards recognise the entrepreneurial talent of university students, who may not even realise how enterprising they are before they take part in this competition. We are delighted to support and recognise such an array of talent across the country.”

To enter the awards, student societies first had to apply for accreditation, demonstrating the events and activities carried out and their membership numbers and turnover.

To receive a Gold award, finalists had to go further by hosting events involving local professionals and entrepreneurial alumni, take part in the RBS EnterprisingU business plan competition, organise workshops and support their entry with photos and videos.

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