Enterprise success stories

Joshua Rennie and Michael Cropper

Who is involved?

Students Joshua Rennie and Michael Cropper work in conjunction with Exeter City Football Club and the University to aid with the delivery of an enterprise project for school and college students. Joshua is a final year Philosophy and Political Economy student, while Michael studies Business Economics with Chinese.

What is the Schools Business Enterprise Scheme?

The enterprise project, sponsored by Recruitment Solutions, allows local school and college students to set up a business which sells tickets and commercial packages on behalf of the football club. The students receive a commission which varies according to the product that they choose to sell. Monthly and annual prizes are awarded to the best performing teams and a presentation evening is planned for the end of the football season.

Beyond the prizes and earnings of the teams, the enterprise project is aiming to boost the employability of local students and help them to develop practical skills that will be useful for their careers. The teams typically focus on accounts, marketing, sales and PR but some teams have been creative and gained sponsorship from local businesses to give them some resources to invest.

Many schools use the project to support the modules of their business studies classes. This has been helpful to teachers as it adds a practical element to their courses which makes understanding the business theory much easier.

What are Michael and Josh’s roles?

Following the scheme being established in 2011, Josh and Michael got involved in March 2012 to help to launch the scheme looking forward to the 2012-13 season which began this August.

Michael and Josh’s role has developed along with the scheme, from planning the launch of the new scheme to providing business advice to students and promoting the scheme. There have been some encouraging signs so far, with some impressive ticket sales being generated by some schools. All of this serves to improve the on-going relationship between the University and football club, as well as both party’s commitment to the local community.

What have they learned from the project?

Josh’s comment:

“When we first got involved with the scheme we were given free rein in terms of coming up with ideas to try to innovate the scheme and push it forward from the previous year. The first task we had was planning the launch which involved organising some of the details of how the scheme would operate.

One of the major parts of my role has been to go into different schools and talk to students to provide guidance on the project. For example, I’ve encouraged students to try and get a sponsor for their team to provide them with money which they can invest in their project to try and boost sales.

One of the challenges with the scheme has been managing my time that I commit to the project alongside my studies. I have not found this overly problematic, as I’ve tried to be quite organised in setting aside a set period of time to work on the scheme. When I have had tasks to complete for the scheme, such as writing an update for the match-day programme, I’ve treated it like a piece of university work with a set deadline that I have to fit in alongside my other modules.

Overall, I’ve really enjoyed the experience. It has given me the opportunity to learn a lot of things in the process and, as a football fan, the opportunity to work with the football club has been very enjoyable. We hope that the successes that we have had will continue over the rest of the year, and that the scheme will continue to grow over the coming years.”

Michael’s comment:

“I joined the Schools Business Enterprise Scheme as I was excited by the responsibility associated with improving an established community programme. Since then, I have had the opportunity to visit a number of local schools as well as write updates for match day programmes.

I have included the enterprise project into my degree through a work experience module. This has been very useful as it allows me to add a practical element to my degree where I can put some of my studies into practice. I have particularly enjoyed the challenge of managing the interests of the various scheme stakeholders; the University, the football club and our sponsor, Recruitment Solutions.

Being involved in the scheme has been very useful in terms of employability. I am developing new skills which I didn’t necessarily use in my previous work experiences which gives me more to talk about at interviews. Also working with the local community is particularly appealing to employers.

I am looking forward to the rest of the season and ensuring that the progress made will run into the coming years. Overall, it has complimented my studies well and displays the University’s commitments to improving the employability of its students and the local community.”