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Business students set to pitch ideas to retail giants in bid to secure funding for social enterprise initiatives

L-R Aimee Exley, Freya Hopkins, Alistair Cummins, Meredith Stephenson

A team of Leeds Trinity University (@LeedsTrinity) students are gearing up to present their business ideas to bosses at retail giants Asda and BIC.

As part of the Enactus UK programme, final-year business students Alistair Cummins, Meredith Stephenson, Freya Hopkins and Aimee Exley are leading Leeds Trinity’s Enactus society to secure funding for social enterprise projects they have developed.

One of their projects, reCreation,will focus on improving the mental health of children in primary and secondary schools following the COVID-19 pandemic, through dedicated art workshops, and they are hoping to secure the backing of Asda and BIC.

Enactus UK is an established university programme that supports students and young people across the country to engage in social action and social enterprise. It operates in over 60 universities throughout the UK, including Leeds Trinity, engaging up to 3,000 students each year.

As part of the programme, Leeds Trinity’s Enactus society get the chance to enter competitions run by Enactus UK’s partners to secure funding to help get their initiatives off the ground.

After being successful in the first-round stage of Asda and BIC’s competition, the society received an initial funding allocation of £500 towards their reCreation project back in December.

Now they will go on to compete against four other teams in the next round, where they will present reCreation to leaders at BIC on Tuesday 25 January and Asda on Thursday 3 March in a bid to receive further funding and mentor support.

Their success comes off the back of winning £1,000 worth of funding towards another project, Calido, which they pitched to Enactus partners at EY Canary Wharf in London in November.

Calido aims to tackle elderly fuel poverty and offer older people advice on energy efficiency ratings.

Alistair Cummins, President of the Enactus society at Leeds Trinity, said: “Founding an Enactus society at Leeds Trinity has been an incredible journey and an invaluable experience. From learning about Enactus and how they operate, to developing projects that will become social enterprises, the knowledge I’ve gained, and the professional network I’ve built up through the competitions and networking events, has enhanced my employability as well as my confidence and leadership skills.”

Meredith Stephenson, Committee Member of the Leeds Trinity Enactus society, said:

“Joining and setting up Enactus at Leeds Trinity has enabled me to come out of my shell. Gaining more confidence and enhancing my skills are some of the many benefits I have experienced since being a part of Enactus.”

Dr Katie Lupton, Lead in International Academic Partnerships and Programme Leader for International Business at Leeds Trinity University, said: “I am so impressed and immensely proud of our Leeds Trinity University Enactus society. It has been a pleasure to see them make the most of opportunities, take ownership of their own personal development and take on leadership roles all whilst trying to make a difference and generate impact. Their amazing success so far is testament to all the hard work and dedication they have put into the programme. I cannot wait to see where they go from here and what they achieve next!”

More information on the Enactus UK programme can be found on the website.

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