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Leeds Trinity business students win two awards in national enterprise competition

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A team of Leeds Trinity University students have received special recognition for their achievements as social activists and entrepreneurs by the Enactus UK university programme.

Students and teacher at award ceremony.

The Leeds Trinity Enactus Society, led by final-year business students Aimee Exley, Alistair Cummins, Freya Hopkins and Meredith Stephenson, headed to the Enactus UK National Expo in London, where they won the ‘Newcomer of the Year’ award.  

The society’s Vice President for Engagement, Aimee Exley, also won the Enterprise Rent-A-Car ‘Vice President for Engagement Partner Competition’, in recognition of her outstanding outreach work and organisation around the team’s projects.

The society received the awards following the development of two innovative and successful social enterprise projects, one focusing on improving the mental health of school children following the COVID-19 pandemic and the other aiming to tackle fuel poverty amongst the elderly.  The team successfully secured the finances to run both projects, winning four rounds of funding from various organisations, including Enterprise and retail giants ASDA and BIC. 

This follows a hugely successful year for the society.  Since it was set up in September 2021, they have had opportunities to pitch ideas, develop business cases and network with a range of organisations and employers, gaining invaluable employability skills to complement their academic studies. 

Last year, in recognition of their passion and engagement as a new society, the group were selected to visit the Enactus UK headquarters in Nottingham where they received individual coaching and support from industry experts including Enactus UK CEO Andrew Bacon.

Aimee Exley, Vice President for Engagement for Leeds Trinity’s Enactus Society said: “I am honoured to receive this award! It has been a pleasure to represent Leeds Trinity University and it's really nice to be recognised for all the hard work that I’ve put in for Enactus.” 

Meredith Stephenson, Leeds Trinity Enactus Committee member said: “Since setting up our Enactus team at Leeds Trinity, I have watched, and been a part of, our team growing and succeeding, and I could not be prouder of how far we have come! It has been an honour to represent the university and I am so excited to be part of our award-winning team.” 

Jess Mullin, Leeds Trinity Enactus Society member added: "I have really enjoyed being part of Enactus this year, I’ve made lots of new friends and have some great memories. I’ve gained many new skills from this experience such as teamwork which will be very valuable for me in the future."

Dr Katie Lupton, Lead in International Academic Partnerships and Programme Leader for International Business at Leeds Trinity University, said: “I am so proud of the achievements our Enactus team have made. Their dedication and hard work has seen them develop two social enterprise projects and be awarded funding from organisations including Enterprise, ASDA and BIC.  I have no doubt that their employability skills have improved and that through their networking and wider experiences they will have significant advantage over other applicants when applying for graduate roles.

“Enactus represents an excellent fit for Leeds Trinity, particularly given the new strategy as it speaks to sustainability, careers and enterprise, research and impact, and student experience. Our principal drivers of course are the students and student experience. The programme has offered our students the chance to develop entrepreneurial and leadership skills alongside demonstrating global citizenship through creating positive economic and social impact. They now have lived experience of setting up a social enterprise, pitching ideas, making financial decisions and assessing the possibilities of generating positive impacts.”

Enactus UK is an established university programme that supports students and young people across the country to engage in social action and social enterprise. It operates in over 60 universities throughout the UK, including Leeds Trinity, engaging up to 3,000 students each year.

As part of the programme, Leeds Trinity’s Enactus Society get the chance to enter competitions run by Enactus UK’s partners to secure funding to help get their initiatives off the ground.

More information on the Enactus UK programme can be found on the website.