Bookfinder – The exclusive textbook exchange for UEA students
Enactus is a global charity dedicated to using entrepreneurial action to run commercial and social action projects that will make a difference to the lives of others and shape a better, more sustainable world. Read more about Enactus.
Enactus is a relatively new society at UEA, having only been functioning since 2014. Here at UEA, it provides the opportunity to bring together students from various disciplines and year groups to work together to run and organise successful projects and start-up businesses. Our focus at the moment is to spread the word across UEA and reach out to students that may want to get involved.
For a project to fit the Enactus criteria, it should effectively empower people in need by applying business and economic concepts and entrepreneurial approach to improve their quality of life and standard of living. A project can either be commercial; which aims to raise money to fund future ventures, or social; funds raised from previous projects are used to finance an initiative which has social or environmental objectives.
The previous year’s committee began a commercial project known as Bookfinder, a website exclusively for UEA students to buy and sell used textbooks, enabling them to save themselves money and recycle old books in a safe and regulated way. Similar to Ebay, Amazon, and other online trading sites, students can upload their books with as much detail as they see fit; these are categorised by subject. Buyers can then search for the books that they want easily and efficiently. We add on a small commission depending on the price requested by the seller, which will be used to finance later projects. To buy or sell your textbooks click here.
When Enactus committees are in their early stages, it can be difficult for projects to sustain momentum, and unfortunately Bookfinder suffered in the previous year. However Hannah and I saw promise in the idea and therefore decided to lead the project for the 2015/2016 academic year. Therefore before term ended we created a project plan to ensure that we could relaunch at the start of this year. We split the tasks, such as refining the terms and conditions and rebranding the website between us. We had regular phone calls (which sometimes lasted two hours) to update one another on progress or difficulties that we faced. With a 200 mile distance between us and balancing busy summer work placements, this project has not been without its difficulties at times!
As third year Business Management students we recognised that Enactus was a great way to put the skills we had learnt in theory into practice. We have practiced our knowledge in finance, marketing, operations management and project planning as well as accumulating new skills in website development. Hannah and I relaunched the website 5 days before the autumn semester began to promote it to students on Facebook. Within a day of the website going live, we had sold two textbooks and since then have had turnover of £350. Hannah and I have learnt that when managing a business, effective communication is vital so that you can play to your strengths within your team and thus outsource when necessary to ensure you venture is as successful as possible.
We understand that Bookfinder needs some refining, and with the new Enactus member intake we will have other students who are able to enhance the process for its users. The long term vision for Bookfinder is to develop an app, which would allow students to scan the book’s barcode and list the price and condition of the book from a Bookfinder account. We also hope that the business model will be comprehensive enough so that other Enactus committee’s from alternate universities are able to replicate Bookfinder and it will help them to raise funds for their social projects. To join our society click here.
Enactus Committee at the Society Fair
from left to right: Tom Hinchcliffe, Hannah Smith, Milly Tonks,Harry Cranfield, Nathan McCormack, Cindy Lou, Lucy Binks,Bea Dandan
Written by Milly Tonks and Hannah Smith