Birkbeck Enterprise celebrates student entrepreneurs

Nine teams of students stepped up to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges to decide who would be awarded Best Business Idea and Best Business Pitch.

On Thursday 15 June Birkbeck’s Enterprise Programme hosted an evening of awards, celebration and networking as their pilot project, BECCA (Birkbeck Enterprise Community Competition & Awards), came to a successful close with the winners announced following their pitching competition.

BECCA is an extra-curricular course for aspiring entrepreneurs to develop their skills and knowledge to start up their own business, learning from real founders who have been in their shoes. The course launched in November and continued with a monthly Saturday morning workshop that focussed on a different skill or knowledge area. These included business planning, sources of finance, effective communication and much more, building up to their pitches to put it all into practice.

Nine teams of students stepped up to pitch their business ideas on Saturday 3 June to a panel of judges, consisting primarily of Birkbeck Alumni, to decide who would be awarded Best Business Idea and Best Business Pitch to be revealed at the celebration evening.

After a welcome address from programme leader Jenna Davies, guests heard from Professor Philip Powell, Executive Dean of the School of Business, Economics and Informatics and Birkbeck’s Pro-Vice Master for Enterprise and Innovation who presented the awards. 

Best Business Pitch was awarded to MSc Management with Business Innovation student Robert Bauer, winning a series of professional coaching sessions from global communication skills training organisation, Pinnacle Performance Company, who delivered BECCA’s Pitching Workshop in March. Robert spoke of his accomplishment:

“I feel very honoured and proud about my successful pitch. I look forward to the coaching sessions with Pinnacle and to get in touch with the team. The course has been fantastic; I started without a business idea and have now got a great platform to continue developing as an entrepreneur.”

Best Business Idea went to BSc Business Psychology students Odessa Hamilton & Gina Osman for their hospitality focussed business, winning access to a top business mentor in the industry who will provide a full strategy day along with a series of mentoring sessions to work on the next steps of the business idea. Founder Odessa said she was “over the moon to win this category” having worked extremely hard developing the idea since the start of the course. 

The winning students also received a £500 contribution each towards a training course of their choice that focuses on personal or business development.

The course has been invaluable for the students who took part as well as the entrepreneurs themselves who delivered the workshops. Portfolio Consultant Accountant Rohan Badenhorst, who ran the Sources of Finance session in April, said: “It was such a pleasure to share my knowledge with the students and meet such a diverse and exciting group of aspiring entrepreneurs. It’s a fantastic course to be involved with and great to see how the students have developed.”

The focus now moves to next year, where applications for the course will open in Autumn 2017 with details being sent to all students at the start of the academic year, ready to launch during Global Entrepreneurship Week.

For more information on Birkbeck Enterprise or to get involved in supporting the programme, please contact Jenna at enterprise@bbk.ac.uk

Further information: