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The University of Southampton
Southampton Business School

The Catalyst Challenge

Published: 19 April 2017
Science Park Photo
Science Park

The University’s Student Enterprise team recently hosted the ‘Catalyst Challenge’, an annual one-day business competition. The day involved students working in teams to solve a commercial challenge, and pitching their solution to a panel of business experts. We spoke to current student Malina Amortoaie, who took part, about her first-hand experience of the competition.

“At the University of Southampton, no day is the same, there are so many opportunities to get involved with that encourage students to build knowledge outside their degrees, such as programmes, workshops and events. As a student interested in developing business skills that I can apply in my career, I recently took part in a one-day business competition, called the Catalyst Challenge.

Prior to competition day, I received advanced training in business planning and pitching. On the day, a member of the Student Enterprise team talked about start-ups, incubators and the difference between entrepreneurship skills and intrapreneurship skills.

We were tasked with finding an innovative way to revolutionise arts & crafts, based on an actual start-up at the Science Park. Together with my team, which consisted of a PhD student, a Graphic Arts student and an Aeronautical Engineering student, we developed a business proposal for an arts & crafts app that would connect local suppliers with buyers, and pitched it to a panel of experienced business people.

I would highly recommend students participating in this competition – the experience helped me to think more commercially, and was an excellent opportunity to practice my communication and teamwork skills, whilst learning and applying key fundamental practices such as writing value propositions and researching markets.”

Malina also highlighted some of the areas she improved in through taking part in the Catalyst Challenge: Project Management (the SIMPLEX project)

  • Business model generation canvas
  • Value propositions and mission statements
  • The importance of knowing your customer segments
  • Leadership
  • Public speaking
  • Releasing creativity
  • Networking
  • Pitching originally
  • Budgeting
Student photo
Malina Amortoaie
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