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'They're hired' - York Apprentice

On the 19th of February, York Entrepreneurs held their fifth annual 'York Apprentice' event in The Lounge in aid of charity. Victoria Chater-Lea recalls the event and talks to this year's winners.

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3382920768 d62f79a91c o (2)The York Entrepreneurs held a variety of challenges to find the University's most innovative, dedicated students. Four different teams had to battle out three different stages of the York Apprentice to be in with a chance to win a cash prize of £1000 in the final stage. The following four groups were created out of University students: Gel Oven, Monopolist, Enigma and Gold Digger.

During the first stage of the Apprentice, contestants were given £10 to turn into the highest amount of money over a two day period, based on Alan Radbourne's One Pound Challenge. The first stage was then won by the pair who made the most amount of money. Creative ideas included selling doughnuts in the library, and cleaning student houses. The winning team, Gel Oven (comprised of 3rd years Katie Gordon and Elizabeth Fox) held a car wash that raised over £100.

The teams were given 48 hours to prepare for the second challenge, a charity auction. Teams ventured into York and tested their negotiation skills in order to get products and services for the event in The Lounge on Thursday. An array of companies kindly agreed to give away products such as meal vouchers, free beers, spa days and bicycles. The auction started at 7:30pm and was hosted by YUSU's Sam Maguire. The weirdest item sold was a couple of raw burgers. The cheapest item sold was Smashbox make-up for £1.50. The item worth the most was a £350 professional photo shoot. The most expensive bid was for £100 worth of 659 taxi rides. Other luxury bids include £60 of Piccolino vouchers, £60 Jack Wills vouchers, meals for two at Lowther, Fiesta Latina and Coco house afternoon tea.

The event was successfully received and raised over £700, compared to last year's £250, which did not go towards charity. Gel Oven won the second round, raising over £350, and Monopolist came a second raising £240. The other two teams, Gold Digger and Enigma were knocked out at this stage, before the final challenge.

President of York Entrepreneurs, Adam Jordan, commented: "The York Apprentice aims to find innovative, determined and entrepreneurial students at the University of York and I feel that this years entrants have surpassed all expectations. Deciding to donate the money raised from the Auction to Virgin Startups will help to support student entrepreneurship in the early stages of their endeavours. This is something that we are extremely proud of and would like to thank the wider York community for their support".

The final task was hosted the next day with EY who devised a solvable business problem. The teams had to assess 5 different business routes for a luxury chocolate company and decide which route to take. The two teams had to present their ideas and answer 30 minutes of a challenging question and answer session. The winning team won £1000 to spend as they pleased, and the chance to be entered into the regional final against the University of Lancaster.

The EY judges were impressed with the winners from stages one and two, and Gel Oven won overall, earning themselves a £1000 cash prize. Katie and Elizabeth from Gel Oven agreed that the York Apprentice was a 'good experience' and they were 'surprised at the generosity received'.

"The challenges were harder than anticipated, but it goes to a good cause. It's a good idea, and has the potential to grow into a much bigger event. Some people got extremely good deals, and we would definitely recommend it to others, as it's useful to put on CV's. It's helped my entrepreneurial skills hugely with facing rejection, and also made us think quicker, through coming up with alternative prizes, such as the mystery prize which earnt us considerably more money than if we had just left it. Negotiations took us a long time; an hour and a half was spent trying to get the bike for the charity auction. We're pleased that we won, and going to Lancaster is giving us another opportunity to win another £1000! However we are extremely happy that our earnings during the auction have gone towards charity."

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