Can Dream Catchers, postcards and smart phone accessories help the elderly?

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The answer is yes! In an innovative activity, the ‘Value Challenge’ a group of UEA students from the MSc in Enterprise and Business Creation raised funds for Age UK Norfolk. This activity asks the students to work in a team starting a business from scratch with no more than £150 in seed capital. Norwich Business School (NBS) endow the seed capital for all the teams involved.

Age UK Norfolk is a local independent charity, their mission is to support older people in Norfolk to enjoy the opportunities and meet the challenges of later life. The group of young entrepreneurs chose to sponsor Age UK Norfolk because they wanted to give something back to the local community. One of the participants emphasized that “it is wonderful to be able to help others, while we are developing our own businesses. The focus is on creating value for others rather than for us”.

Tiago Botelho ran this activity with the students as part of his module ‘Planning and running your business’. He thinks that this type of initiative is very important not only for students but also for the charities they support. “Age UK Norfolk received unexpected support for their activities while the students were able to prove themselves as entrepreneurs”. A win/win situation in Tiago’s view.

Two of the three teams undertaking the ‘Value Challenge’ decided to sell smart phone accessories (power banks, headphones, cables, etc…). However, this proved to not to be the triumphing strategy. The winning team had a distinctive variety of products. On the one hand, the team was selling and personally delivering Valentine’s Day cards. On the other hand, they offered dream catchers in a range of different sizes.

This year’s cohort of just nine students raised £185.88 for their nominated charity Age UK Norwich. Tiago added that “this was a very positive outcome. All teams were able to repay the initial investment from NBS and still generate profits. Exactly what every entrepreneur aims to achieve”.

On the 5th May, a representative of Age UK Norfolk, Michael Wild, received the donation from the students’ hands. Michael reinforced the importance of the donation ‘this contribution might be used to support our valuable telephone befriending service supporting lonely and isolated individuals in rural communities.  £4 funds a typical 45 minute call to a lonely person’.

With many thanks to Tiago Botelho, Lecturer of Business Strategy, for contributing to the NBS Blog.

TB!

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