Students from Northumbria University have helped a local charity to become financially sustainable after completing a business consultancy project.
Whitley Bay Young People’s Center (WBYPC) provides a combination of outreach and on-site activities, including arts and crafts, drug awareness, healthy eating and various sports and regular weekend overnight fun events for the local community.
Following the appointment of a new board of trustees, the charity has been reviewing its business plan and developing its marketing strategy and approached The Business Clinic at Northumbria’s Newcastle Business School to see if it could help them develop a financial approach.
The Business Clinic is an education scheme whereby a group of business students form a ‘consultancy firm’ to provide free advice for clients. Supervised by experienced tutors, students are asked to analyze the problem they are presented with, consider possible solutions and provide a detailed report and full presentation of their recommendations for their client.
Final year accounting students Lewis Carter, Kieran Brown, Amir Afrasiabi and Husnain Asif operating as team ABAC Consultancy identified trends in income levels and funding following extensive research into comparator organisations. The team then carried out a financial risk assessment and identified key funding opportunities, which they included in an income generation strategy created for the charity.
David McCreedy, trustee at Whitley Bay Young People’s Center immediately saw the benefits of working with the Business Clinic. He said: “From the outset we knew we did not have capacity or the income to carry out the work the students did. They saved us six months to a year of volunteering work and delivered a great set of recommendations for how we can generate income to sustain the future of the charity.
“The students are exceptional young men and produced a very high standard of work. They worked really well with our community development worker and were professional at all times. It was great to see them gain confidence throughout the process and their recommendations have given us a lot of food for thought. We’re now looking forward to discussing these further and seeing how we can implement them. I highly recommend other organizations get involved with The Business Clinic as we will definitely work with them again.”
Team member and final year accounting student, Lewis Carter 20, from Leeds said: “It was great to be able to work on a real business project, as it enabled us to put theory into practice as well as developing key skills such as planning, teamwork, collaboration and how to put a business report together – all of which we can carry forward into the workplace.
“Working with WBYPC was a great opportunity as we learned a lot about the charity sector, and it was good to be able to help make a difference. The whole experience was really enjoyable and I definitely recommend other students get involved with The Business Clinic as part of their degrees.”
Since its inception in 2013 the pioneering Business Clinic has provided free student-led consultancy advice to some 600 clients with an estimated value of £3.3 million.
Nigel Coates, Director of the Business Clinic for Northumbria University, said: “We’re delighted to have had another highly successful year for our students and clients. The relationship between Whitley Bay Young People’s Center and ABAC Consulting is an excellent example of university and not-for-profit organization collaboration.
“The Business Clinic is continuing to go from strength to strength and it is fantastic to offer our students the opportunity to work directly with leaders across a range of businesses from SMEs and multinationals through to not-for-profit organisations. The scheme not only enhances the learning experience and the employability skills of our students but delivers considerable benefits for our clients.
“We’re looking forward to supporting even more businesses in the years to come, and we would encourage any firms interested in free support from The Business Clinic to get in touch.”
To find out more about free consultancy support please visit The Business Clinic.