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entrepreneurs of the future gather at Reading

Release Date 28 February 2007

Budding Alan Sugars, Anita Roddicks and Richard Bransons from the University of Reading could be taking one step closer to their private jet tomorrow.



Entrepreneurs of the future are to take part in a fast-paced national competition for students – similar to Dragon's Den and the Apprentice, but without the humiliation factor – in a bid to transform a business idea into a focused and profitable enterprise.



Students from 10 universities across the South East will gather at the University of Reading's London Road campus on Thursday (March 1) to take part in 'Yomping The Nations' (YTN), the biggest university business competition of its kind in the UK 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.



YTN is a competition based round a business training tool developed by Cambridge University and Cambridge-based training and strategy specialists, The Working Knowledge Group.



Becky Miller, University of Reading's Entrepreneurship Manager, said: "Yomping the Nations is a fun, challenging and inspiring competition. It pushes students to put their entrepreneurial skills into action and gives them real insight into the planning process required to make an exciting new business idea a success. It's great to see the students coming away so enthused and confident!"



Spokesman James Lott, serial entrepreneur and director of The Working Knowledge Group, says: "For students to develop the skills required by today's dynamic workplace before graduation, it is vital for business to be involved in their education. The Working Knowledge Group recognises this. Our partnership with UK universities through YTN provides the conditions to encourage an entrepreneurial mindset amongst graduates to the benefit of the economy."



The students 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.




The Grand Final - on 19 and 20 March, 2007, at Manchester Metropolitan University - will see the winning team walk away with £3,000 cash.



ENDS





Notes for editors:


Contact: Becky Miller 0118 3786062 or email: r.l.miller@reading.ac.uk



More about Yomping The Nations:


YTN 2007 launched at Queen Mary University of London on Monday 5th February. 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.


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