A new breed of entrepreneurial consultant
Students on our exiting new Masters programme, MSc Applied Management & Entrepreneurship (AME), have been working with Yorkshire based companies over the summer to develop real entrepreneurial ideas.
The students – international students from a range of experience and backgrounds - have been acting as a new breed of ‘entrepreneurial consultants’, learning about the entrepreneurial process by exploring real life entrepreneurial opportunities with local entrepreneurs.
Their first of the three week projects was for a textile manufacturer based in West Yorkshire. The company’s MD had identified a potential idea: manufacturing recycled fabrics made from waste plastics in the world’s oceans. The students’ challenge was to pick up this potential sustainable business idea and explore whether there was an opportunity worth pursuing further (or not). Having researched the ocean waste problem, analysed the market and spoken to both industry experts around the world and consumers on the ground, the students put together options for a business model together with specific opportunities for the company to link in with a global campaign for 2020.
Commenting at the presentation of the team’s report, the company’s MD said “The students genuinely helped me to take an embryonic idea and move it along to the next stage”. Far from a paper exercise, this will now be one of the ideas he seriously intends to take forward to the feasibility stage. Engaging with students was originally just a good way to support the next generation of entrepreneurs. Now he saw the value in being forced to focus and articulate a seedling idea and letting others help move it closer to becoming a real project for the business.
The other projects entailed working on ideas at different stages and in different sectors. Two projects were related to Crowdfunding, with the challenge to test the market for products/services that were already prototyped or concept ready – including a new sustainable portable box for livestock and pets. The final project was working with a highly successful social entrepreneur to consolidate his globally recognised social actions in a sustainable business model.
The entrepreneur behind a proposed radio station project, valued the amount of ‘positive progress’ the students made quickly with his business concept. Rather than following to the letter his brief to devise and launch a crowdfund campaign to raise funds for the start-up, the students impressed with their ability to rethink what was really needed – coming up with a revised concept for a community internet station based on a co-creation concept. He is now intending to implement their strategy and design for a crowdfunding campaign in the near future.
Commenting on their projects, the students who are half way through their 15 month Masters programme, said “the learning experience is so different. It is no longer a theoretical concept on a screen, but more a real life experience, of breaking down an idea and coming up with something tangible. You get a more rounded experience”. They have seen that working with entrepreneurs and applying what they know to real ideas and opportunities is learning by doing and can also have real impact.
We are currently accepting applications for the MSc Applied Management and Entrepreneurship, for a January 2018 start. Find out more about the programme and apply online.