Attempting to establish the largest enterprise society in the UK to promote entrepreneurship from its very foundations is by no means a small feat. Manchester Entrepreneurs, boasting a membership count of 3,200 students, has undertaken the journey to realise this ambition.
The rapidity of their rise has been noted, with guest appearances on BBC radio Manchester and in the local paper, and featuring prominently on the National Consortium of University Entrepreneurs website. Launching the preliminary stages of a society is difficult enough; however Manchester Entrepreneurs have created a ubiquitous presence along Oxford Road right to the doorstep of our neighbouring education institution, Manchester Metropolitan University, where a large member base now resides, full of entrepreneurial creativity and aspiring to success.
Manchester Entrepreneurs was set up to create and educate a community of future business and society leaders. Our strong, ever-developing alumni network has gone on to create their own start-ups while others are now high performing employees of successful SMEs and FTSE companies.
Faced with the herculean task of distinguishing ourselves from over 100 weird and wonderful societies at the Freshers’ fair, our budding entrepreneurial society aimed for a novel marketing strategy. We abandoned the traditional flyer for a flamboyant alternative – cut-out masks of famous entrepreneurs from an array of backgrounds, with contact details on the reverse – clearly paid dividends.
At this stage of the academic year, Manchester Entrepreneurs has come out on top in the battle for member retention through embracing 21 century social technology practices, integrating applications and smartphone usage in its activities, detailing the latest exploits on Facebook and Storify. The fact the expanding society only set up a Facebook page two months ago and has now reached over 500 ‘Likes’ is a testament to the society and its assiduous team.
In a world of growing austerity, sponsorship revenue from corporate organisations has been far harder to get hold of, which has resulted in a multitude of societies grounding to a halt. Not Manchester Entrepreneurs though, who have come leaps and bounds since inception, clinching deals with Bloomberg, Accenture and Jaguar Land Rover to name but a few.
Not only does this enhance the repertoire for future events involving networking and skills sessions, but also will shape perception of ‘intrapreneurship’ of graduate recruiters. Due to numerous revenue streams and the strengthening of existent and new links between HE enterprise champions and the Manchester Enterprise Centre, Manchester Entrepreneurs have collectively fundraised more than £8,000, no mean feat as society fund allocation from the University is fairly distributed among each society.
Stan Reinholds, President of the Manchester Entrepreneurs, says most of his waking hours have been consumed with preparations for the next event. “It’s been pretty intense, but I have a strong team behind me. Our team has a diversity of people from different backgrounds that balances out creating what exactly what ME members needs”.
ME’s future plans are ambitious, he says: “I see ME as the most known student-run organisation in both universities engaging over 500 students yearly”.
Reinholds envisages the apparent potential for enterprise across the North. “Enterprise in the UK is just taking baby-steps. Soon, student enterprise will be in every university's agenda in the North West, and I am very excited for ME team to be in the middle of it all”.
Manchester Entrepreneurs pride themselves on endearing and enterprising qualities, while never missing a good opportunity. The collaborative approach upon a plethora of students across a variety of academic-as well as international-backgrounds are clearly palpable, and demonstrate our potential to reach out across the mainstream flow of creative and enterprising students. Our rapid expansion to MMU within three years of establishment of the society provides evidence of our message reaching a wider audience and, inevitably, honing in on a mission to inspire, educate and support students on their way to success.
Stan Reinholds is president of the Manchester University Entrepreneurs Society