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Anita Roddick

Originally Published 22 September 2002

Mercia Institute of Enterprise held its second EnterpriseFest on 20-21 June 2002 at the Ramphal Building, University of Warwick. The Fest was organised to promote Enterprise and Entrepreneurship amongst students and staff at West Midlands universities. Over twenty speakers gave presentations over the 2 days covering topics such as; Removing the Glass Ceiling - The Female Entrepreneur, How to Manage your IPR, What Makes a Company Successful, How to Spin a Company out, E-Marketing Solutions and The Arts and Media - Making a Small Business Happen.

The Fest began with a highly entertaining, controversial speech by Anita Roddick, who described how she set up the Body Shop along ethical business principles. From one small shop the business has now grown to over 2,000 retail outlets operating worldwide. A variety of business types; lawyer, banker, venture capitalist to name a few, were introduced into the Fest - proving particularly popular with a wider audience. Participants listened to how businesses had been set up and thrived in a range of environments from high technology to self-employment in the Arts and Media. Over 250 students and staff from 8 universities attended workshops and there were 185 dinner guests for the EnterpriseFest Gala Dinner including 97 local Entrepreneurs and VIP's. The Lord Stafford presented the concept of the Business Ideas Competition, which is to be officially launched later this year. The two after-dinner speakers introduced the themes of 'Valuing the Person' and 'How to grow a Smarter Brain'.

EnterpriseFest remains focussed on the practical aspects of successful entrepreneurship, but also advises potential entrepreneurs about how to overcome the very real hazards that await the unwary. EnterpriseFest is not only about how to set up a business, it also reviews common pitfalls. This year, the Fest included new developments such as the '£50 Spot-the-Currency Competition' and the highly popular 'Wine Tasting Competition' at which participants had to create a business idea around branding and selling the wine. Participants had initially to guess the origin of the wine and then create a new label.

This years Fest will be followed by a Birmingham based EnterpriseFest on 5 December 2002.