SRUC Crowned Champions at 2012 New Shoots Challenge

Published Wednesday, 28th November 2012 in Study at SRUC news

new shoots

After five years of trying students from SRUC Craibstone have won the New Shoots Challenge.

The New Shoots Challenge (formerly known as the Grassroutes Challenge) is a national competition for students which tests their entrepreneurial abilities.

Organised by the Royal Agricultural College, this year’s New Shoots Challenge used business simulation software to examine the contestants’ business acumen. Over the course of the day the SimVenture programme allowed the students to run a virtual business over three years throwing in some tricky obstacles such as an economic downturn and suppliers raising prices.

SRUC’s winning team was chosen by George W Roberston, Programme Leader, Rural Business Management, SRUC. He says: “We have been entering a team into this prestigious business competition since its inception five years ago but have never quite won through to the final. The students were really engaged with the computer simulation and it produced tremendous excitement and a real buzz for both teams.”

SRUC’s winning students Rachel MacKellar, Nathalie Micoud and Lynn Paterson, who are all studying for Rural Business Management degrees, were mentored by David Shepherd of Evesham Vale Growers. Their virtual business, which was valued at over £1,000,000, triumphed over a very tough field including teams from Harper Adams, the Duchy of Cornwall and the Royal Agricultural College.

Nathalie says: “The atmosphere was very intense, but we were determined to demonstrate our capabilities and our mentor David Shepherd was a tremendous support. It was such a surprise to win, Harper Adams were undefeated. We were thrilled especially as we knew we had so much support from everyone back home.”

Lynn says: “It made us aware of how easily businesses can be affected by the external environment which I think would be useful if we run our own businesses in the future.”

The College’s second team, consisting of BA (Hon) Agriculture students Andrew Dalgarno, Jacqui Gardiner and Bruce Ingram (mentored by Steve Ellwood of Smith and Williamson), also placed an impressive third. A team from Harper Adams was second.

Dr Kyrsten Black, Dean of SRUC’s Craibstone Campus, says: “I am delighted with how well both teams from SRUC in Aberdeen have done in the competition. It is a challenging and rigorous contest and their hard work and effort proves they are great ambassadors for SRUC. I hope this gives them increased confidence as they come towards the end of their academic studies with us and start their new careers post graduation.”   

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