NWAA Business Challenge

A team of three engineering students represented Lancaster University at the recent North West Aerospace Alliance (NWAA) Business Challenge on Wednesday the 25th of January in Preston. In the below article, Adeayo Sotayo, Francisco Fidalgo and Hrishikesh Deshpande reflect on their experience.

The aim of the NWAA challenge is to recognise and reward young people working and studying in the aerospace sector within the UK’s North West region. 12 industries and Higher Education institutions including, BAE Systems, MBDA UK, Preston’s College, Nelson and Colne College and University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) all presented teams which partook in the challenge.

This year’s event composed of a series of mini challenges to develop and evaluate different sets of skills (communication, negotiation, innovation and presentation) whilst working and competing in teams. Some of the mini-challenges involved playing a slightly different version of Monopoly, creating upright structures from paper and tape, the disassembly and reassembly of a model helicopter made out of Lego in a fast and effective manner. These aforementioned activities tested our Negotiation, Innovation and Communication skills respectively. Lancaster University came 1st in the Communication challenge as we were able to effectively plan by designating sections of the model to each team member and ensuring effective communication. The task was completed in the fastest time, whilst ensuring 100% accuracy.

In addition, having been prepared and mentored by Chris Lowerson, Simon Harrison and Charlotte Stuart from the Enterprise team, we presented to a team of judges and the other teams, on the three most important skills required by an aerospace engineer in the future, which was well commended and applauded. All the tasks tested and developed our ability to perform well and adapt quickly to different situations in a time-controlled environment.

Furthermore, we were able to network with different people working in the aerospace sector and listen to some interesting talks on the future of the Aerospace Industry. At the end, we were each presented with certificates to honour our performance. Overall, it was a very insightful and beneficial experience and would definitely recommend students to partake in the competition in the future.

A big thank you and well done from the Enterprise Team for the huge amounts of enthusiasm and hard work put in by all of the team members!

Enterprise Fellowships for engineering grads

Gain up to £60,000 and mentoring for your startup or spin out

Recent Engineering graduates (who left University less than 5 years ago) and UK based postdoctoral researchers with a startup or spin out in mind, are encouraged to apply for an Enterprise Fellowship from the Royal Academy of Engineering.

The Enterprise Fellowships aim to support the development of early stage startups which bring engineering innovations to the market. Award recipients will receive up to £60,000 funding, mentoring, business training, public relations support and much more for up to 12 months for the continued development of an innovation or technology, and the associated company. The funding may be used for salary support of the Enterprise Fellow and any other costs associated with the development of the product.

To find out more about the fellowship, and to apply, click here.

Please note, applications must be received by 17 October 2016.

Engineering YES 2014

Learn how to bring to market new inventions and ideas and win up to £3,000 in the process!


If you are a researcher (staff or student) who would like to learn more about how research and new technologies get invented, made and sold then this is the programme for you. Step into the shoes of a technology entrepreneur for three days – and learn what being an inventor and business guru is all about.

The programme:

  • develop team building, communication and networking working skills
  • find out about Patenting and other types of intellectual property rights
  • learn about financial planning and budgeting
  • discover how new inventions get financed, made, bought and sold
  • develop business planning skills
  • learn about the world of business and commerce
  • experience operating in high-pressure environments

Engineering YES is a three day residential experiential training programme (May
2014), wrapped up in a business plan competition to keep things interesting! It’s a
team event (either you have your own team, or we put them together). Teams of
researchers from Universities and industry throughout the UK work together to
develop a business plan and dragon’s den pitch on a ‘fictitious’ business related to an
engineering product or service. The Training workshops and group work imagine that
these businesses and ideas are real!

During the three days of events and training, speakers and mentors from industry and
business advise and guide teams on developing their team’s business plan and pitch.
The top team from each heat will reach the national finals in Birmingham in June for
their chance to win £3,000.

To get underway, there will be a half-day set-up briefing session in April where all
teams receive the background information they’ll need to get going in May. This will be
held at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in Sheffield and will
include a tour of the facilities there.

The Engineering Yes competition is extremely highly regarded by delegates,
industry sponsors and the participating universities. The employability skills
it delivers will be really helpful for your next career move in industry or

Comments such as ‘I feel you have invested £million in my future’ are examples of the testimonies the competition receives from participants.

2014 Dates

  • Briefing Session: Wed 9 April in person at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Sheffield or via Webinar
  • Heat 1: Sunday 27 April – Wed 30 April Holiday Inn Derby-Nottingham M1
  • Heat 2: Sunday 11 May – Wed 14 May Holiday Inn Leeds Brighouse
  • Heat 3: Sunday 18 May – Wed 21 May Holiday Inn Birmingham M6 Jct 7
  • Heat 4: Sunday 1 June – Wed 4 June Holiday Inn Milton Keynes
  • Grand Final: Wed 18 June Birmingham Science Park Aston

I am interested – what should I do now?

  1. You can enter as a pre-formed team, or as an individual. If you enter with less than 4 members we will allocate you to a team accordingly. This may be with other researchers from your institution or possibly from a different university.
  2. Entry forms can be downloaded from our website www.engineeringyes.org
  3. Send your Application Form to Jo Gilman (j.gilman@lboro.ac.uk)

The organisers will endeavour to allocate teams places on their preferred dates, but
may need to offer alternatives if space is no longer available.

Download the info sheet here.

For further information please contact Jo Gilman: j.gilman@lboro.ac.uk
Or visit the website: www.engineeringyes.org