Experienced entrepreneur panel to choose winning student business idea

The challenge is on at the University of Chester to find the students with the best business ideas as it launches the 2021 Enterprise Challenge.

Run by The Graham Shapiro Foundation and ARCET Global, the competition offers the chance for emerging entrepreneurs from any degree discipline to have their ideas tested by a panel of business experts with an impressive pedigree of enterprise, and win £1,000 plus a mentorship programme.

On the panel are: John M Mohin OBE D.Univ, Chairman of Graham Shapiro Design; Alissa Koopal, Chief Executive Officer at Pennine Events Ltd; Rob McKay, Managing Director of Sherrington Associates; Martin Nolan, Business and Leadership Coach; Cody Gapare, Founder of multi award-winning C-Lash as seen by Eylure, and Joel Blake OBE, Business Leader, Entrepreneur and Public Speaker.

Founder Graham Shapiro, driving force behind The Graham Shapiro Foundation Enterprise Challenge, and Entrepreneur in Residence at University of Chester Business School, was clear about what the competition will achieve.

“The Graham Shapiro Foundation recognises the latent potential that young entrepreneurs hold, for themselves, the wider community and the greater good. Our objectives are clear: we want to give them every possible encouragement to realise their dreams.

“The Enterprise Challenge is focused firmly upon stimulating young people to step forward with confidence and take pride in their ambitions, by providing a strong incentive, one that will effectively transform vision into enterprise. Our goal is nothing less than to give them a taste of their own success,” he said.

Mark Hamill, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of ARCET Global said: “As young entrepreneurs ourselves, we hope to provide opportunity and support to inspiring young entrepreneurs and business leaders. The awards will highlight new initiatives and ideas, encouraging, educating and empowering innovation as well as helping students to build their own future.”

The competition has been launched on behalf of University of Chester Business School, which encourages entrepreneurship as part of all its degree programmes and offers dedicated entrepreneurship courses.

Dr Connie Hancock, Head of Department for Management at Chester Business School added: “Graham Shapiro has provided our students with motivation and encouragement in their entrepreneurial endeavours.

“He is 100% committed to nurturing young entrepreneurial talent and we are so grateful for his help as our Entrepreneur in Residence and with our Enterprise Challenge. Our thanks also to ARCET Global for helping to run our competition.”

Students can apply at https://arcetglobal.com/uc-enterprise-challenge/ with a closing date of May 3, 2021. They don’t need to have set up a business to enter.

Ten finalists will then be invited to submit a ten-minute video pitch of their idea and the winning student or team of students will be announced at a live-streamed virtual ceremony and win £1,000 plus mentoring from The Graham Shapiro Foundation for Innovation Enterprise.

The Graham Shapiro Foundation is a charity that supports mental health, well-being, innovation and young entrepreneurialism in the UK and ARCET Global is a leading provider of professional services.