News (from Edinburgh Research and Innovation)


Edinburgh students show enterprising initiative in UK finals

  • 21 April 2016
Edinburgh students show enterprising initiative in UK finals

University of Edinburgh students from Enactus Edinburgh, a social enterprise initiative at the University show great enterprising spirit in a national competition.

A team of enterprising University students, who have been involved in a social enterprise initiative called Enactus Edinburgh, made the University proud in the recent Enactus UK National Competition.

Enactus Edinburgh connects student, academics and business leaders through entrepreneurial-based projects that empower people to transform opportunities into real, sustainable progress for themselves and their communities.

The Enactus Edinburgh team were one of 35 teams selected from regional competitions across the UK to compete at the Enactus UK Nationals in London on 11th-12th April.

Whilst the University of Edinburgh team didn’t win the UK Enactus final, they did exceptionally well, being selected as one of the top five teams in the UK.

Although the University of Nottingham team was the overall winner, and go on to represent the UK in the World Cup in Canada, Enactus Edinburgh’s President, Nathan Beresforde, picked up the award on the night as winner of ‘Team leader of the year’.

In addition, the University of Edinburgh team picked up the majority of individual category awards:

  • Winner - Tesco Award for ‘Food waste and creating opportunity’
  • Winner - Wilko Award for ‘Sustainable entrepreneurship’
  • Winner - Asda Award for ‘Commercial viability’
  • Winner - KPMG Award for ‘Unlocking potential’

It was also recognised that Enactus Edinburgh is relatively new and small compared to the other teams in the UK Nationals, so their success is even more impressive.

Both LAUNCH.ed and the University Principal’s Office provided financial support to help 15 of the students attend the finals.

Alison Gee, ERI’s Enterprise Development Manager – Students at LAUNCH.ed, said:

“Enactus Edinburgh have delivered real solutions for real problems both locally and internationally. We are very proud of their achievements representing the University of Edinburgh at the National finals. They should be applauded for the social impact they have achieved in such a short space of time. The activities undertaken by the Enactus team align very well with the work we do at LAUNCH.ed ‐ encouraging and supporting students to explore opportunities and develop their ideas into sustainable ventures.”

This year, 53 students have participated in the Enactus Edinburgh initiative on a range of projects including:


A group of students worked with homeless youth on a soup and bread-making business that helped them gain confidence and develop useful skills that could lead to employment, financial stability and more independence. They even introduced a ‘suspended soup’ scheme, where customers could pay an extra £1 and donate a cup of soup to a homeless person. As a result of this scheme more than 65 homeless people have been given a hot meal that they would otherwise not have received.

Edinburgh Candle Company

A group of students worked with local unemployed women facing barriers to work on a candle-making enterprise in which these women hand-craft sustainable soy wax candles. Working in partnership with Edinburgh-based charities, this project helped build their skills and confidence as they looked towards employment or setting up their own micro-enterprise.

Leading Entrepreneurs Acceleration Program

The Leading Entrepreneurs Acceleration Program (LEAP) encouraged younger students to try out business ideas to gain skills and experience that will help them develop as entrepreneurs. Three ideas were selected after a competition and are now being developed into businesses.

Helping Hand

A group of students provided unemployed or vulnerable individuals with paid work experience and qualifications to help them develop skills that would make them more employable. This project has now been formed into a Limited company (Helping Hand Cleaning Services Edinburgh Ltd), providing cleaning services for houses, flats and offices. They also provide a ‘Post party clean’ to save the effort of having to clean up after your party!

Taino Soap

A natural insect repellent soap project set up in the Dominican Republic to pay for trainee teachers to attend modules at the nearest private university, which helps them graduate as teachers faster than previously achieved. This leads to reduced student-teacher ratios in the local schools, providing a better education to students. The soap also reduces the risk of contracting Zika and other mosquito-borne viruses.

Nathan Beresforde, Enactus Edinburgh’s President, said:

“These projects empowered 25 individuals this year, whilst also improving the lives of 480 people. I can honestly say being a part of Enactus has been one of the best experiences of my life. It takes all the best parts of what is offered by University societies and volunteering, in the social aspect, meeting people, and helping others in the community, and combines it with all the skills you would want as a graduate wanting to be successful in a large company or an entrepreneur.”

Further information


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