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The RBS ESSA Awards Day

The UK’s most enterprising students joined members of the business community, graduate recruiters and press as their achievements were celebrated at the final of the RBS ESSA Awards on Monday.

£55,000 of prize money was handed out to 22 student societies at the presentation ceremony but it was Warwick University’s Warwick Finance Societies (WFS) who scooped the top prize, earning the coveted title of ‘UK’s most enterprising student society’.

With 1,900 members, 80 events throughout the year and the RBS Group, JP Morgan and ICAP among its sponsors, WFS set the bar pretty high and will take £18,000 in prize money back to Warwick – once they’ve returned from a business trip to Hong Kong, that is.

Former Welsh International rugby star Ieuan Evans, Director of Scratch Meals Phil Pinnell and Katharine Hirst, Director of DropGifts presented the awards, which also included ‘best series of events’ and ‘most innovative fundraising activity’.

The RBS ESSA, run by FIG and sponsored by the RBS Group and LinkedIn, is an accreditation scheme launched to recognise the enterprising activities of the UK’s university societies. Following accreditation, societies were invited to enter the awards in the Bronze, Silver and Gold categories, depending on their level of enterprise.

Speaking at the event, Ieuan said: “It was an absolute pleasure to meet some of the UK’s most talented students.

“For me, two of the worst phrases in life are missed opportunities and unfulfilled talent and that’s where the RBS ESSA comes into play, it allows students to showcase their ambitions and skills, which in the current climate, is more important than ever.”

Chairman of WFS for 2012-2013, James Armstrong, said: “The prize means a lot to us: we’ve put in a lot of hard work this year and it’s always nice to see your efforts recognised! It is particularly rewarding to be named the UK’s most enterprising society.”

Director of Find Invest Grow, James King, said: “It was our inaugural year running the awards, we were blown away with the quality of the entrants and were privileged to have the company of such inspiring people. The event was a huge success and it was great to see people making inter-university connections.

“With the employment landscape becoming increasingly competitive, it is more important than ever to celebrate and reward the achievements of the UK’s most enterprising students. We’re very much looking forward to seeing the standard of entries next year.”

Here is a summary of the award winners: 


  • Winner for most viewed promotional video (£5,000): Leeds Hockey (University of Leeds)
  • Runners-up (£2,000): Newcastle Rugby and Warwick Rowing
  • Finalists (£500): UEA Skydiving and Kent Psychology.


  • Most innovative fundraising activity (£7000): Salsa4Water, University of Glasgow
  • Most innovative fundraising activity runners up, (£1,500): Nottingham SIFE and Cambridge Full Blue Racing 
  • Best series of events (£3,000): Warwick Finance Societies
  • Best series of events runners up, (£1,000): Warwick Economics and Oxford University Business Guild.


  • Most enterprising society (£15,000): Warwick Finance Societies
  • Runner up (£5,000): University of Sussex’s Uni TV
  • Other finalists (£2,000): Manchester Entrepreneurs, Cambridge University Technology and Enterprise Club (CUTEC)Hertfordshire EntrepreneursBrunel Entrepreneurs and UEA (University of East Anglia) Management.

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