Sainsbury Management Fellows

Run ‘Engineers in Business’ Competition at your University or Further Education College  

The University of Nottingham’s Ingenuity17 first prize winner of the Engineers in Business Prize:  Emma Hartley of Pulse AED is presented with her award by EIBF President, David Falzani.

The Engineers in Business competition was created to increase the level of participation in business courses and business competitions by engineering undergraduates and graduates, giving them the opportunity gain more commercial education.

The Engineers in Business competition focuses on business innovation and works with universities and FE institutions that have existing competitions or elective modules for engineering students.

The competition offers each HEI/FEI that runs the competition the following:

  • £3,000 Prize Fund: Typically this is awarded as a  £1,500  prize,  a  £1,000  prize and a  £500  prize for the top three individual engineers,  or teams including engineers.
  • Mentoring: The top team or individuals are eligible to have a Sainsbury Management Fellow mentor assigned to them to offer ongoing career guidance and support.  They will also be invited to selected EIBF networking events, such as those held at the Royal Academy of Engineering.
  • Promotional Support: Engineering graduates and undergraduates are of special value, to be celebrated and supported, especially when it comes to being made aware of the opportunities that business skills offer and the way that employers view these skill sets. EIBF will, therefore, work with the HEI/FEI partner/department to help promote awareness of their Engineers in Business competition.

Benefits for Universities and FEs
Universities compete on an increasingly global stage for their engineering students.  The more effective departments and faculties are those that can demonstrate why their offering is different and superior to competitors.  Students now look for vocational features, proof of employment market performance, and linkages to accelerator/incubator innovation hubs and other strong employer links.

Benefits for Students
Undergraduate and graduate engineers who have participated in the Engineers in Business competition have reported a positive and useful experience, for example:

 “The title Engineers in Business really appealed to me because I’m studying engineering and I have a passion for business and technology, especially with the new start-up culture really taking off”

“when I saw entrepreneurship I wanted to do that straight away…  work needs to be done to get more engineering students to study entrepreneurship”

Engineering graduate employers have stated that they value skills which are not necessarily widely regarded as a standard part of the typical undergraduate experience. These include softer skills such as team working, communication skills, prioritisation, and commercial thinking.  These skills help graduate engineers better compete in the workplace and, arguably, become better engineers – as well as pursue more successful careers.  Recipients of the Engineers in Business prizes can also add this accolade to their CVs, making themselves more marketable.

Benefits for the Engineering Profession
EngineeringUK has reported that the UK has a shortage of over half a million engineering workers.  At the same time, the UK is failing to persuade young people that engineering careers are exciting, well paid and worthwhile.

The ERA Foundation highlighted that undergraduate engineers feel that their degrees are too narrow:

 “…engineering felt too narrow, closing down options on graduation. Engineering is viewed as being a restrictively vocational subject… Engineering is not creative or fun.… many view  the profession as being deeply uncreative and technical”

The Engineers in Business Competition aims to help address these concerning problems.

Some of the most important global challenges we face in the world today are not just technical challenges but require the ability to link technologies to an understanding of the market mechanism, business skills and entrepreneurial commercial thinking.   The Engineers in Business competition aims to give participants a flavour of how business skills and engineering know-how can create wealth and potentially solve world problems.  Participants also learn communication and team working skills.

Equipping young engineers with a business education can have a substantial and highly positive impact on the UK economy.   The SMF scheme has supported over 300 of the brightest engineers who have then gone on to create over 270 new business worth over £4.5 billion and created over 18,000 jobs.

Apply to Run Engineers in Business at your HEI/FEI
The Engineers in Business competition has recently been rolled out to four universities (University of Nottingham Business School’s Ingenuity LabCity, University of London, University of Bristol, Kingston University) and it will be expanded to further universities over the next three years.  Your HEI/FEI can apply to run the competition if the following requirements can be met:

  1. You have an existing  business  elective,  where  undergraduate  engineers  can  choose  to   take  this  elective,  and  the  top  three  participating  individuals/teams  can  be  identified  or
  1. you have an existing business  competition,  where  undergraduate  and/or  graduate engineers  participate,  individually  or  in  teams

You will also be required to provide information on the total number of students/graduates who participate in Engineers in Business and how many of them are engineering students or graduates.

For further information and an application form to run the competition at your university please contact the SMF office.

Run ‘Engineers in Business’ Competition at your University or Further Education College  


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The Sainsbury Management Fellows is registered as a charity: Engineers in Business Fellowship, charity number 1147203 and is a company limited by guarantee : 07807250