Berinsfield Company Benefits from Students Expertise

5 March 2012

Berinsfield Company Benefits from Students Expertise

An Oxfordshire firm has benefitted from students' entrepreneurial skills as part of a social enterprise scheme run by the Henley Business School, University of Reading...

 

An Oxfordshire firm has benefitted from students' entrepreneurial skills as part of a social enterprise scheme run by the Henley Business School, University of Reading.

Students, Laura Wickham, Nasreen Akhtar and Saima Rashid, visited social enterprise Berinsfield Community Business (BCB), which provides grounds and maintenance services to a range of local organisations, to find out about the kind of issues they face, particularly in these tough economic times, and to offer a new perspective on the business.

BCB, who are marking their tenth anniversary this year, employ and train local people to carry out services such as tree surgery and interior decorating for district and county councils and housing associations as well as independent businesses and homeowners.

All University of Reading students have the opportunity to strengthen their CV and to learn more about the third sector by opting to take a specialised social enterprise module during their studies. Students spend time with a local social enterprise on a short visit to learn more about what it does, and to get an insight into the business and the issues it faces. They then write a report with their suggested solutions to help the company resolve the issues.

Lauren Wickham, a management and business administration student, visited BCB. She said: "Going to BCB has given me a first-hand insight into some of the problems that companies are facing within today's economic climate. We have identified some new areas they could target to obtain more customers and increase their profits, and together we thought about ways of creating new jobs for people in the community."

The module, which is organised by the Centre for Entrepreneurship aims to give students exposure to real life business issues, and gain an understanding of social enterprise and Community Interest Companies.

Mark Williams, Business Director at BCB found the experience to be extremely useful; "The placement was a catalyst to get us thinking about our issues and potential activities in a clearer manner, so that we could communicate them to the students. They encouraged us to take a step back from day to day work and offered us some great ideas to help increase our profits in quieter seasons. This is particularly important at the moment, considering the tough times that we are being faced with."