Just the business

Mon, 13 Aug 2012 13:02:00 BST

Bob Cryan and Uumph winners

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield, Prof Bob Cryan, with pupils of Brooksbank School, Elland, after their success in the Umph contest.

ONE day they will be running enterprises for real. But in readiness for their role as entrepreneurs of the future, dozens of school students from Yorkshire met in Huddersfield for a special competition to find the best users of innovative business simulation software.

The University of Huddersfield plays a key role in educating and supporting new generations of entrepreneurs.  Therefore it has lent its full backing to the contest named Umph!, based around software named SimVenture, which allows users to create and run their own virtual company.

The Umph! competition attracts teams from schools, sixth forms and further education colleges in Yorkshire.  They meet and show their prowess at using SimVenture.  This year the event drew more than 150 entrants and took place at Huddersfield’s Galpharm Stadium.

The University of Huddersfield – which has been closely involved with Umph! from its inception – was a sponsor of the event and its Vice-Chancellor, Professor Bob Cryan, was in attendance at the Galpharm.  Among the entrepreneurs who gave talks and led a workshop session were students and former students who have been supported by the University’s Enterprise Team in launching their ventures.

They included graduate Andrea Springthorpe, who founded Fit4Force, and current business student Jacob Hill, who recently earned backing from Sir Richard Branson for his The Lazy Camper venture.

Also, media students at the University were on hand to document the day.  The executive producer was Steve Symon and the team – taking courses in Digital Film and Visual Effects Production, plus Film, Animation, Music and Enterprise – was Liz Patrick, David Grant, Kyle Harward, Jake Sakar and Haydn Shanley.  They followed the day’s activities and – to a tight deadline – produced a video report.

Uumph award logo Their course leader, senior lecturer Milan Bogic, was delighted that his students had the chance to be involved in Umph!

“Taking part gives students the experience of working in industry,” he said.  “They are fortunate to have been involved from concept to fruition and now have a good awareness of the logistics involved in planning an event involving 100 schoolchildren.”

The winning team at the 2012 awards was made up of four A-level business studies students from Rossett School in Harrogate.  Second place went to four students from Franklin College, Grimsby, and third place went to Brooksbank School in Elland.  The final award for the day was handed to Helena Taylor from Shelley College, Huddersfield, who demonstrated special entrepreneurial skills.

The Umph! event began in 2011 and was created by Sandra O’Neill, of leading financial services company Grant Thornton, and Peter Harrington of SimVenture.  The University of Huddersfield joined the venture at an early stage, helping to design and deliver the first competition.

In 2012 the University again aided planning, and Head of Enterprise Dr Kelly Smith plus Phil Clegg, who is Start-Up Business Advisor within the Enterprise Team, joined the panel of judges.

Dr Smith is in no doubt of the value of the competition and its burgeoning success.

“Around 160 16-19 year old attended and 14 schools have already signed up to come again next year.  There was a great atmosphere.  I love being involved and I’m looking forward to helping again next year,” she said.  


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