The annual awards, which aim to reward and recognise the innovative skills involved in running a successful student society, attracted more than 140 entries from universities across the UK.
"The awards celebrate the incredible and diverse activities carried out by student societies across the country and we were blown away with the quality of the entrants this year. It's also fantastic to see how societies have evolved over the past year. With the employment landscape becoming increasingly competitive, it is more important than ever to recognise and reward the achievements of the UK's most enterprising students."
—James King, Director of Find Invest Grow
Find Invest Grow (FIG), a venture capital firm focusing on the student and recent graduate market, teamed up with the Royal Bank of Scotland group (RBS) to host the RBS Enterprising Students Society Awards (ESSA).
The winners were announced by Ian Livingstone CBE, the founder of Games Workshop, at an awards ceremony on in July, attended by more than 300 guests.
The top prize of £10,000 and coveted title of 'most enterprising student society' went to Cambridge University Eco Racing. The student-led organisation, which has an annual turnover of around £500,000, designs, builds and races solar powered vehicles. The team, which is attempting to win the World Solar Challenge (a 3,000km race across Australia), aims to promote sustainable technology and the raise the profile of women in engineering.
Helena Barman of Cambridge Eco Racing said: "We're currently fund raising for the final stages of our two-year race cycle. With the help of our industry partners, including Jaguar Land Rover and Cambridge Precision, we have designed and built a solar powered car from scratch. However, funding has been short on the ground for us to actually compete in the race we designed our vehicle for - the World Solar Challenge in Australia. The RBS award has helped us fly the car out, meaning we can now compete in the race. Fingers crossed - we'll be bringing back a Gold medal for Britain come October. Thank you RBS ESSA!"
Director of Find Invest Grow, James King, said: "The awards celebrate the incredible and diverse activities carried out by student societies across the country and we were blown away with the quality of the entrants this year. It's also fantastic to see how societies have evolved over the past year.
"With the employment landscape becoming increasingly competitive, it is more important than ever to recognise and reward the achievements of the UK's most enterprising students."
Mike Maddick, Head of Early Careers at The Royal Bank of Scotland, said: "It was fantastic to see such a wide variety of applicants, and the standard was immensely high. The RBS ESSA recognises the entrepreneurial talent of university students, who may not even realise how enterprising they are before they take part in this competition. We are delighted to support and recognise such an array of talent across the country."
Another University of Cambridge student society 'Full Blue Racing' won a prize of £2,500 for the Best alumni engagement.
To enter the awards, student societies have to apply for accreditation first, demonstrating the events and activities carried out, membership numbers and turnover. In 2012 -2013 more than 440 societies were accredited under the unique scheme.
The RBS Enterprising Student Society Accreditation (ESSA) is a nationwide accreditation scheme and associated awards, run by Find Invest Grow (FIG) and sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group that promote, recognise and reward enterprising activity within UK university student societies. Once a society has been accredited, they are eligible to enter into the RBS ESSA Awards.
Whether arts, sport or finance, student societies are the perfect "dry run" of managing a business: committee members must seek sponsorship, market to new members, manage large budgets and hold events. The RBS ESSA rewards these enterprising activities across all societies, helping students obtain a competitive edge and boost their CVs. Workshops to help foster and further develop enterprise skills are held on campus as part of the scheme.