Funds and expert advice from RBS

Student Enterprise incentivised with £61,000 awards scheme and mentors from the RBS Enterprising Student Society Accreditation

Students could get their hands on £61,000 of funding plus expert advice as part of the RBS Enterprising Student Society Accreditation (ESSA) initiative and awards, which is now open for applications.

The scheme aims to promote the great enterprising work carried out by uni societies and the people behind them. By becoming accredited by ESSA, societies have the opportunity to win cash through the awards, as well as receive a meaningful qualification, which is recognised by leading employers, to add to CVs.

Last year saw a record 458 societies from 110 universities, representing 89,000 students successfully achieve accreditation, while 142 societies applied for the awards and 7,000 students were actively engaged in skills workshops.

The University of Warwick was named the country’s most enterprising university, topping the RBS Enterprising Students ranking table ahead of Imperial College London and University of Cambridge in second and third place.

Over the past two years societies at Warwick have won £29,500 as a result of being part of the scheme, while societies at The University of Cambridge have scooped £17,000 from participating in the RBS ESSSA Awards.

Cambridge Eco Racing won last year’s top award for ‘Most Enterprising Society’ claiming the £10,000 first prize as well as an additional £1,000 of sponsorship, which was used to help the society compete in the World Solar Challenge in Australia.

The initiative is designed to illustrate how everyday society activities such as marketing, driving new membership, managing accounts, hosting events and raising funds are demonstrations of entrepreneurship.

The scheme aims to show that by being part of a society students are in fact developing the skills which will be vital in their working lives.

Applications are free at, where full entry guidelines are provided. Each society is then assessed and if considered to be showing enterprising spirit and skills, will be issued with an RBS ESSA certificate, which is a powerful qualification for gaining standout on CVs.

As an accredited member of ESSA, societies have the opportunity to take part in workshops and skills seminars, while receiving mentoring from some of the country’s leading entrepreneurs and executives. All accredited societies are eligible to apply for the RBS ESSA Awards, which offer £61,000 in prizes to support and boost the great work being done by societies. To view previous winners please visit   

Thom Kenrick, Head of Sustainability Programmes, RBS said: “Small businesses and enterprises are the backbone of the country’s economy, so enterprising spirit is vital to future growth and prosperity. While many students are taking part in a society because of a passion for the subject matter and probably have little desire to run a business at this stage of their lives, we want to show them how they are actually developing core skills which are going to be essential in their working lives. The scheme gives students the confidence that they have got the skills required to be successful in the business and commercial world.”


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