Meet the Best University Society 2020

Ready to nominate your society?

Every year, the National Undergraduate Employability Awards (powered by champion and reward the fantastic achievements of employers, students and universities in the undergraduate world.

The lucrative Best Society Award, sponsored by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, recognises those societies that demonstrate a real flair for improving the employability of their members.

In addition to receiving the title of Best University Society in the UK, the winning society receives a whopping £1,000 in prize money. HUGE.

In advance of the Best Society Award 2021, we interviewed Lucie Polakova, vice-president of this year's winners, UCL Entrepreneurs.

Tell us about your society!

UCL Entrepreneurs is a society full of students passionate about entrepreneurship. We are making the world of startups, technology and venture capital more accessible, whilst also promoting entrepreneurship as a viable career path for our members.

We organise activities that fall into three simple categories that form a pipeline, to help start a startup...

  • INSPIRE: Providing students frictionless access to a network of like-minded individuals via Speaker Events, London Startup Fair etc.
  • CATALYSE: Developing students’ ideas into workable business models and plans e.g. Bloomsbury Startup Academy
  • GROW: Turning students’ business models and plans into working Minimum Viable Products and provide the next step to becoming self-supported disruptors e.g. UCLE Venture Capital Fund.

Know someone whose society deserves the Best Society 2021 Award?

What are your society's biggest achievements?

Since 2007, UCL Entrepreneurs has become one of the biggest and most active societies on campus. With weekly activities and 12,000+ social media followers, we have become an integral part of the UCL student life. 

Our speaker events have 150+ attendance average, we have invested over £40,000 of non-equity capital into UCL student startups and some of our selective programs have a 10:1 application ratio.

We are also proud of our startup, VC and corporate partners who provide job experience, internships and guidance to the society members. We have won several awards, such as the NACUE "Best Enterprise Society" award (3 consecutive years) and received nominations for “Best Overall Society” and “Most Active Society" by the UCL Student’s Union.

It’s important to note that all achievements of the recent years are a result of the hard work of several ‘generations’ of the society committee members that build upon the previous year’s high standards, as well as the unique culture that each and every individual helped to create.

How did you hear about the NUE awards?

We were quite lucky to have friends who told us about the awards and recommended that we nominate ourselves.

It may or may not be because we never stopped talking about the society and were always very busy preparing all of our events and initiatives!

What made you nominate yourself for the Best Society Award?

We like the prospect of having our work recognised; we appreciate the hard work, time and passion our committee put into our initiatives and events. 

Having a formal recognition like the Best Society Award would be great evidence that the society is going the right direction. 

The award money could enhance our impact on campus and help us deliver events at a greater scope. We are also excited about meeting other societies and learning from their experiences and ideas.

How did you find the application process and judging day?

The application process was very straightforward! We also had a lot of marketing material to use as a base for all the answers. 

The judging day in Enterprise-Rent-A-Car head offices was a great experience. We were slightly nervous about our final presentation to the panel, but the whole day was made to be very relaxed and enjoyable. 

Apart from talking to other societies and exchanging ideas and contacts, we took part in several engaging activities and workshops (and enjoyed a lot of food).

We loved being shown around the offices and learn more about Enterprise Rent-A-Car, which made the event even more informative.

What did you think of the NUE Award ceremony?

The awards ceremony was an incredible event. It was very professional and extremely well organised and brought some of the most passionate individuals and organisations in one room.

We got to hear from Emma Miles about the importance of what students think about diversity and inclusion - we found the talk very interesting as it looked at the issue from a completely new perspective.

Then we were all inspired by the adventures of The Tempest Two, two guys who rowed across the Atlantic Ocean. Their message of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone in order to spark innovation and growth resonated with us all.

We also got the opportunity to network with the representatives of all nominated companies which made the event even more valuable.

What did it feel like to win?

We were extremely nervous when our category was being announced. But, it was amazing to hear our society description and all the activities that earned us the award. 

Walking up to the stage and receiving the award was truly unforgettable. 

It just felt great to receive recognition for the incredible efforts and creativity our team have put into the events and initiatives run.

How has your society spent the £1,000 prize money?

The £1000 prize has been used to continue our tradition of offering equity-free money to the best startups that participate in our Venture Capital fund competition and our Bloomsbury Startup Academy - an accelerator program for UCL students.

Why should societies nominate themselves for the Best Society Award 2021?

All student societies work hard on delivering the best events and programs to their members. The Best Society Award is an amazing opportunity to recognise those that are often behind the scenes, but spend hours outside of their academic responsibilities on these events and programs.

Also, it's an opportunity to get to meet other top student societies and exchange ideas and experiences.

What tips would you give to new societies when nominating themselves for the award?

You are in your society because you love what you do - don’t be afraid to show your passion about the events you organise and initiatives you bring to the students. Also, focus on the impact and opportunities provided to your society members.