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Plymouth Business School students offer free research and consultancy

Plymouth Business School is seeking to engage with a range of businesses, social enterprises and charities who would like student consultants to investigate a business issue for them through its Inspiring Futures project.

To date, Inspiring Futures students have undertaken live consultancy projects for organisations across the public, private and third sector, with clients including Plymouth City Council, Clever Student Lets, and St Luke’s.

What started out as a small pilot with just 16 students in 2011 has now, in its fourth year, grown to include nearly 2000 Plymouth Business School students, undertaking in excess of 350 consultancy projects for over 200 organisations, with an estimated value to the local economy of over £400,000. 

In addition to the potential financial gains from participating in Inspiring Futures, clients frequently say how beneficial it is to work with the students as they bring fresh eyes and thinking to their organisation. Sometimes the simple questions asked by students as they try and understand a business are more effective than a professional consultancy. 

Inspiring Futures is uniquely designed to enhance the employability skills of Plymouth Business School students from the start of their university careers whilst adding value to the organisations they work with. 

Working in teams of around five, students act as consultants fulfilling a brief which the organisation has set. In previous years, students have addressed all of the following projects: 
• Undertaking competitor analysis; 
• Creating a social media strategy; 
• Evaluating potential markets for existing or new products; 
• Producing elements of a business case (e.g. SWOT and PESTLE); 
• Researching funding options; 
• Undertaking supplier analysis. 

Organisations with a project idea are invited to express an interest now (Nov-Dec 2015), with projects starting and running through February 2016. 

Students are not paid for the work that they undertake as it forms part of their assessment. During the project, the students work remotely, structuring any visits and contact to suit the client. 

All students and organisations taking part in Inspiring Futures sign a formal work-based learning agreement which covers confidentiality, intellectual property rights and expectations. As part of the students’ learning experience, they will present the results of their findings to the organisation via a presentation with a supporting document. 

For more information about Inspiring Futures and details about how to make an application, email: inspiringfutures@plymouth.ac.uk

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