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South East students seek to Yomp home – University of Reading

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South East students seek to Yomp home

Release Date 21 October 2005

Students from 10 South East universities are vying to prove they have what it takes to be the next Richard Branson. Budding entrepreneurs with an ambition for business success, and those who just want to learn about business, will gather at the University of Reading on Tuesday 25 October to convince a panel of business-hardened experts that they too can be business winners. And the winning team of the South East heat of Yomping the Nations will pocket £500 and will then go on to enter the national final in London, going head to head with teams from 100 universities from around the country. Yomping the Nations, which was successfully piloted earlier this year in the North-East and Scotland, is the biggest university business competition of its kind in the UK and is aimed at showcasing the business talent in our universities, celebrating entrepreneurship, exposing students to the realities of business and strengthening links between business and academia. More than one million students will be touched by Yomping the Nations – including 1,000 finalists across 10 regional heats – making it one of the largest enterprising initiatives for universities across the UK. Each of 10 universities in the South East will put forward a team of eight which will then be faced with a business scenario where they have to develop the best business strategy for a new business from scratch over a single day. To do this, they will be using Yomp, a business coaching method derived from research at Cambridge University involving business leaders and academics, which identified 95 key business functions. Based around a planning board and cards, Yomp focuses on knowledge of key business functions and uniting the management team. Working from the business scenario given to them on the day, the teams will use the Yomp coaching method to map out their strategy; agreeing on decisions to be taken and when and how they then join together to form a coherent business plan. Teams are evaluated throughout the day by national and local business experts, during team strategy workshops and a Dragons' Den-style pitch. They will not only be judged on the merit of their ideas but will also be assessed on how well they use the help of the business experts in working through the planning board and how they apply this advice in the development of a business strategy. The climax of the day comes with two teams meeting head-to-head to make an elevator pitch. This is done inside the Yomp elevator – a pressured environment in which the judges crowd around a team which has just 30 seconds to make its case. This decides the winning team who will share the £500 prize. Yomping the Nations organiser James Lott said: "This is going to be a gruelling process for all the students but this one-day challenge provides an incredible learning experience for the participants who are effectively approaching the day cold, and it is those who make the best use of the support available to them in the context of their given business scenario who will ultimately emerge triumphant. "Yomp is a highly effective business tool and will be a powerful aid to help them form their strategies and to learn the essentials about business." South-East business leaders who will be casting a critical eye over the wannabe entrepreneurs include Wasim Ahmed, of UK-based semiconductor intellectual property vendor Imagination Technologies, and Cindy Mahoney, who, after 20 years with Barclays, now heads up her own change consultancy. Christina Harsthorn, Management and Enterprise Skills Manager at the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), which is sponsoring the event in the South East, said: "We have an immense amount of talent, energy and creativity in our universities which should be channelled to produce the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. If these young people can be encouraged into business, either setting up their own businesses or as commercially savvy employees, they will become the next generation of wealth creators, which can only be good both for this region's economy and the rest of the nation." For further information on Yomp and Yomping the Nation, visit http://www.yomp.com End Notes for editors 1. Participating universities in the South East are: The University of Reading, Buckinghamshire Chilterns UC, University of Kent, Oxford University, University of Sussex, University College Winchester, University of Surrey, University College of the Creative Arts, Canterbury Christchurch UC, Southampton University. 2. After starting out in the computer industry, Wasim Ahmed worked for IBM and National Instruments before he moved to Hitachi (now Renesas), where he was responsible for strategic marketing in the areas of digital consumer technology. As product manager he started the move into the car navigation market, taking the company to a 90pc market share. In 2000 he moved to ARC as part of the team to prepare the company for its IPO. He is also co-founder of The Chilli, a journal tracking technology start-ups, read widely be entrepreneurs and VCs. 3. Ten business experts will be invited to attend on the day, 5 from professional services and 5 entrepreneurs. One of each group will be paired-up to offer advice within 5 business categories: Finance, People, Marketing, Strategy and Operations. 4. Yomping the Nations takes place against the backdrop of high-profile media activity as part of the second ever National Enterprise Week (14 – 20 November 2005) when there will be a heightened awareness of the enterprise agenda. 5. Yomp takes its name from a military term coined during the Falklands conflict, which described the overland march to capture Port Stanley as: "A long march at speed, over rough terrain, to a defined goal in a given time period carrying a heavy backpack, where the most direct route might not be the quickest or easiest." Yomp uses this as a metaphor for growing or starting a business. We believe to be successful businesses must have an ultimate goal to work towards over a set time period. The heavy backpack represents the responsibility of running a business and the Yomp coaching method provides the route map in order to achieve that goal in the easiest way possible. 6. SEEDA is the Government funded agency responsible for the sustainable economic development and regeneration of the South East of England – the driving force of the UK's economy. Our aim is to create a prosperous, dynamic and inspirational region by helping businesses compete more effectively, training a highly skilled workforce, supporting and enabling our communities, while safeguarding our natural resources and cherishing our rich cultural heritage. Media: -For further information contact Peter Jackson, Benchmark Media T: 0191 206 4026. Becky Miller, Innovation & Entrepreneurship Manager, University of Reading T: 0118 378 6062 E: r.l.miller@reading.ac.uk Craig Hillsley, Press Officer, University of Reading T: 0118 378 7388 E: c.hillsley@reading.ac.uk

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