Student-run social enterprise wins National Award for Student Educator

Sep Eslahi, chairman of Aston Entrepreneurs Society, has won the National Enterprise Educator ‘Student Educator’ award for The Apprentice Challenge.  The award was presented at a gala dinner in Sheffield’s Cutlers’ Hall as part of the International Entrepreneurship Educators Conference (IEEC).

Following the award, Sep Eslahi and Simona Popa have now set up The Apprentice Challenge as a social enterprise with support from BSEEN (Birmingham Skills For Enterprise and Employability Network) and are based in Innovation Birmingham Campus, Birmingham Science Park Aston.

Inspired by The Apprentice BBC TV Show, The Apprentice Challenge is the largest live competition with practical tasks for entrepreneurial students in UK. It brought together 100 contestants, competing in three simultaneous challenges, with three different prizes, all aiming to offer the participants a chance to experience all stages of running a business.

The prizes were access to six figures worth of investment and up to £20,000 grants for social ventures, £5,000 cash and interview coaching from a globally leading company.

More than 60 hours were filmed with top-of-the art-equipment by six video crews with the purpose to create a TV Show to inspire a generation of students to consider an entrepreneurial path.

Overall the program engaged with 300,000 students across UK and the best 100 were selected from top 40 universities.

A key aspect of this program was the diversity of over 11 sponsors and supporters including Trinity Mirror Group, Accenture UK, Birmingham City Council, UnLtd, Aston University, BSEEN and Enternships.

For next year The Apprentice Challenge aims to expand to more campuses across the UK and engage with entrepreneurial students at both the local and national level. Applications will open shortly on

Photo caption: Keith Burnley, acting CEO of NCEE, Simona Popa, Sep Eslahi and Professor Elena Rodriguez-Falcon, Director of EEUK.

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