EIBF Welcomes University Enterprise Education Partners to the SMF Annual Dinner

Back to News

After a two-year hiatus because of the COVID pandemic, the Sainsbury Management Fellows Annual Dinner is back!

On 11 May 2022, 120 guests attended a lively Annual Dinner at One Whitehall in London. The diverse mix of guests included our Patron Lord Sainsbury of Turville, and the EIBF President, David Falzani MBE, as well as many SMFs, representatives from the Royal Academy of Engineering and business leaders.

EIBF was also delighted to welcome enterprise professionals from the universities supported by an Engineers in Business competition prize fund. Guests were able to network in person after such a long time, which created a tremendous buzz.

Speaking about the universities’ student business ideas competitions, EIBF President David Falzani said: “During the uncertainties of the pandemic years, we aimed to keep communicating with our stakeholders and with engineering students. Several years ago, we developed the Engineers in Business Competition. This offers a prize fund to university enterprise competitions exclusively for engineering participants. The winners receive cash prizes, and first prize winners receive mentoring from a Sainsbury Management Fellow. Despite the ongoing challenges of engaging with students who were learning remotely, Engineers in Business Fellowship funded 27 competitions this year at 26 universities. Our thanks and appreciation to the universities that continued to inspire and support students and brought them on-screen to pitch their innovations remotely and made their events look seamless! 

“The times called for creativity and determination and all our university partners certainly had this. It was a huge help to us in spreading the message about the benefits of engineers learning business skills, and we achieved the highest audience reach ever — over 291,000 engineering students, graduates and postgraduates received our communications. 

“The university competitions allowed us to design and run our own competition – a Champion of Champions Final which was open to all participants from the universities. There were two competition categories: ‘Big Ideas’ – an opportunity for participants to express their vision and personal potential through a combination of technology and business – and ‘Start Ups’. The online event was broadcast live from the Shard in London and over 300 viewers from around the world tuned in. Ten finalist university teams pitched their business innovations in the hope of winning a share of the £15,000 prize fund.  

“Publicity before and after the event reached an international audience of over 46 million. This group included students considering engineering as a course of study, those already studying engineering and working engineers, some of whom may be future candidates for Sainsbury Management Fellow Scholarships.  

“We look forward to working with all our university partners, which now stands at 35 this year, and look forward to their winners participating in the Champion of Champions Final in September.”

The university partners who attended this year’s Annual Dinner were (left to right in the photo): 

  • Prof Jeroen Bergmann – University of Oxford
  • Thomas Simmonds – University of Southampton
  • Holly Rendall – University of Hertfordshire
  • Dr Carol Spencely – University of Surrey
  • Dr Rebecca Margetts – Nottingham Trent University
  • Elizabeth Watts and Laura Graham – University of Birmingham
  • Judith Maguire – Queen’s University Belfast
  • Roger Wall – Birmingham City University
  • Lloyd Attrill – University of Southampton
  • Attendees not pictured were Elizabeth Smith, University of Nottingham and Mohammad Ali, London South Bank University 

To learn more about Engineers in Business Fellowship visit the EIBF website