Why should your organisation get involved with student enterprises?

Student enterprises aim to develop the next generation of technology leaders. They are places where motivated students work under the guidance of experienced practitioners, to create and deliver valuable solutions to real clients.

In doing so, these students themselves develop: they gain confidence and experience, and are empowered to take ownership of their future selves. When hiring a graduate who has worked in a student enterprise, you will be hiring someone who has worked on a software or business solution for a real client. This might have been a private company, like a local SME, tech start-up, or manufacturing firm, or a public sector body or research lab, such as an NHS trust, university, local council, or local enterprise partnership.

Many student enterprises form long-term relationships with employers, because these employers know that this gives them access to the very best, most well-rounded technical graduates. Student enterprise alumni have gone on to work at companies such as Accenture, Capgemini, UK Cloud, Majestic, Pinewood Technologies, and Pracedo, as well as starting their own successful companies.

"When you're interviewing and you have a number of students you can almost tell those that have done the Beautiful Canoe experience before you talk about Beautiful Canoe. Beautiful Canoe gives students that stepping stone that really lets them get far more confident in their own abilities and the ability to make that jump from academia into industry".

– Steve Pitchford, Majestic

And student enterprises are not just places where these graduates will have honed their practical, technical skills (though they most certainly will have focussed deeply on this), they are also places where students will have been challenged to step up, learn how to learn, collaborate, and lead. For example, they will have worked as part of a delivery team, attended and most probably led client meetings, and run retrospectives and stand-ups.

Our alumni are highly desirable employees, and often have their pick of a range of technical and business related graduate jobs. But perhaps even more importantly, through the coaching and mentoring we provide, they gain the empowerment and reflective insight to make choices about their future that give them happy and meaningful careers.

In many student enterprises, students will have been challenged to think deeply about their assumptions, interests, and attitudes in relation to work; when someone who has worked for a student enterprise approaches you for a position, it is highly likely that they will consider working for you a move that they really value.

What are the potential benefits of student enterprises?

Empowered, experienced graduates

Graduates emerging from student enterprises will have benefited from personal development coaching and mentoring by experienced professionals and as such, they are ready for the modern workplace.

Confident recruitment

When recruiting a graduate from a student enterprise, you can be sure you will get someone who has already had experience of delivering real projects, working with clients and users, and as part of a project team.

Long-term recruitment partnerships

Partnering with a student enterprise for recruitment can provide long-term access to work-ready graduates. You will get to know and can help shape the skills and attitudes they bring with them.

Genesys (2011–2017)

Genesys was designed as an opportunity for software engineering students to experience what it’s like in a real-work working environment as part of the academic curriculum.

Further details >

The Sheffield Startup Summer

The Sheffield Startup Summer provides students with an opportunity to focus on practising, and reflecting on Lean Startup processes over three weeks.

Further details >

How can I get involved?

Just as student enterprises vary in the way they operate, so to do the range of ways industrial partners/business can engage with student enterprise.

Even within each HEI operating student enterprises, there tend to be a range of ways to engage. This could be through providing a talk or a visit to/from students, through attending a startup summer, or through students tackling a direct project for you.

Find student enterprises near you