Young Enterprise Regional Finals

The Young Enterprise Regional Finals had now arrived. The three finalists from Hope; Moda Nations, Kidsmart and Inspirational Little Futures had spent weeks anticipating this exciting event and were now raring to go.

Carol Buckman and Michael Boyle met all the teams at the Security lodge then boarded the coach and set off to Chester University, where the event was taking place. Immediately, Moda Nations (my group) faced a huge problem as one member of our group was running behind schedule. Straight away, we put a backup plan into action. Laura, our branding manager, volunteered to take over as part of the presentation if needed.

We soon realised that we had another issue – the late team member was in charge of bringing the boxes for our trade stand. Upon arrival, while all of the groups began to set up their stalls. Laura and I rushed into Chester city centre to try to find some replacement boxes. We both made it back just in time for our trade stand judging and interview. Phew!

Looking around there were so many innovative and interesting business ideas from a children’s storybook to coconut oil with a twist. I was truly impressed! Afterwards, we all ate lunch and had some refreshments.

It was now time for the presentations. We were second on the list, which was to our benefit as we could get our pitch done and dusted and then relax watching all the other businesses. As I had pitched previously in the Hope University YE final, I was not as nervous and felt quite confident speaking in public.

Pitch after pitch went by and it was now decision time for the judges. There were so many interesting presentations, which had really thought outside the box; using humour, demonstrations and music to entertain the audience.

After much deliberation, the results were in. There were several awards such as best trade stand, student of the year and best overall idea. As the ceremony commenced, the best investment proposal was announced. And the winner is… Inspirational Little Futures!

Young Enterprise Regional - 2017

We were all so proud that our University took home the first award. All of the other awards were given to other groups from different universities. The competition was so tough.

Although our group did not come away with any awards, we still had a great experience.

You know what they say.. It’s the taking part that counts!

Amy Yong

 

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Time to Pitch!

After weeks of planning, creating and developing our businesses, it was time for the YE students to show off their ideas in a pitch to win a place at the Young Enterprise regional final.

The Arbour room was specially booked for the event and was attended by students, our business mentors, Young Enterprise area manager, Mr Anthony Brown and the judging panel.

As everyone started to arrive, the mentors greeted their groups and guided them towards making the perfect pitch. The groups came together to brainstorm their ideas to make their pitch stand out from the rest.

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The first question our group (Moda Nations) was thinking was ‘who is going to pitch?’ Nobody was overly confident in public speaking. However, eventually, four of us, including myself, took one for the team and volunteered. We decided to focus on our pitch on presenting our finished products to the judges and highlighting our achievements as a business.

Everyone then grabbed a spot of lunch and it was now time to pitch. Excitement and nerves spread across the room. As Carol announced ‘who would like to go first?’ everyone went silent… until one group bravely stood up to take the spot light.

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After many interesting and attention grabbing pitches, it was now our turn. I have to admit I was super nervous, as I have not had any experience speaking in public, let alone over 100 people! We had a shaky start due to a technical issue with our PowerPoint Presentation, but we soon turned it around and delivered a successful pitch.

Once all groups had pitched, it was now decision time for the judges. There were so many innovative and imaginative ideas and some pitches really thought outside the box using music, role-plays and demonstrations.

We all waited in anticipation and after much deliberation, the results were in.

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The two winners are… Kidsmart and Moda Nations. WE WON! We were absolutely over the moon but also really surprised, as the level of competition was extremely high.  This is a huge achievement for Moda Nations, but individually as well.

Regional finals here we come!

By Amy Yong.

 

 

Rachael Egerton, Health and Welbeing

On Monday the 6th of December, Rachael Egerton informed business masters’ students about Health & Well-being in the QVC call center. Rachel is the Human Relations (HR) Director for QVC and her main role is to promote and implement human resource values through human resource programmes for QVC team members. Rachel however mentioned that from an HR perspective there is a variety of roles in QVC so they see themselves as a contact centre as opposed to a call centre.  At QVC UK 57.4% workers are female and 42.6% staff are male.

 

She began by explaining a broad history of QVC. The company was established in the US and has expanded its business in the UK for over twenty years. Initially the company started off broadcasting products on live television, and as time moved on Racheel described how QVC has become a “Multimedia retailer”. The company is no longer solely focused on teleshopping she explained. Today the company has its own channels, online products, uses its own apps, and has a large social media presence to communicate and sell to consumers.

 

QVC operates in seven countries including France, Italy, Germany, Japan, and China. From 2014-15 QVC began to globalize its businesses more, as prior to that the companies were rarely communicating and learning from one another, but just operating independently. As a result, the HR department went through ‘organisation effectiveness’ where every function/market went through a process of change on a larger scale. Human Resource Management (HRM) Department at QVC now work in a ‘Matrix Environment’, which means that the UK business will have an HR leader who will manage every function.

 

At this point she then asked the students call centre related questions which revealed that: the average call centre employee works 6.5 days per week; terminally ill, mental illness and musculoskeletal are the main employee stress issues, while the number one well-being offering was access to a counselling service. She then spoke about QVC’s journey as a business dealing with health & well-being (HWB). In 2008 the organisation came up with a ‘picture of perfection people strategy’ with a clear goal to have “every team member to consider QVC as a great place to work”.

 

The first step to achieve this was to look at health & well-being in a different way from the employee’s perspective. She did mention that QVC already had processes in place for employee benefits and welfare offerings such as, employee systems programme, private health care, availability to join Medicash, and counselling services. However, the plan was to connect that to an overall purpose so they created an umbrella brand to communicate health & wellbeing to team members. Rachael informed the students that the organisation’s culture is about its people and customers and they mimic how they approach their customers and its staff.

 

Around 2013 QVC started to look at employee value proposition, in terms of attracting talent who fit the business culture. They achieved this through interviewing existing team members about what its like to work for the company. At the end of this process another company brand was formed named ‘Live Better’ which encompassed the overview of QVC’s approach to well-being in the workplace.

 

Rachel presented to the class a model theory, which depicts good well-being at work. The company used this model, which helped brainstorm ideas that would deal with health and wellbeing expectations for all team members in the workplace. This led to the company setting up: staff yoga and massage sessions; a chill out room’, a nail centre; a games room and different programmes such as leadership development, which encourages team leaders to get to know their team members better.

 

Rachael specified that health and safety plays a huge part, as it is essential to QVC having the basics in place before the company can progress and enhance its approaches on well-being. She then proceeded to show the class recent images of QVC’s work environment, and asked the class what they thought the company would consider. The answer was that working hours and staff autonomy is highly considered. Working hours at QVC take into account the situation of their employees and work around their life circumstances.  For example less hours are given to a parent with responsibilities. An elected team member representative will communicate to HR about recommendations and suggest changes to the company. This is also demonstrated in an existent health & well-being approach, which was put in place after a team member suggested the activity as it helped them deal with stress.

 

At QVC training is also put in place to encourage staff the correct posture for working at a desk with the intention to avoid any long-term damages to their body. She also stated that QVC will tend to get employees to maneuver around even if they sit at a different desk. The company are also mindful of lighting and sound ensuring it is appropriate so workers don’t strain their voice whilst communicating, or strain their eyesight. On-site development teams liaise with staff to implement new improvement on their programmes.  An example of this is eye tests being available for staff at QVC.  

 

However, she admitted that with all these strategies, sickness absence is still an ongoing challenge for her department and needs more pro-active interventions. Rachel acknowledged that it is important to balance work objectives, meeting targets, and making profit as a business with staff Health and Wellbeing.  QVC wishes to continue to enhance their approach to Health and Wellbeing in the future and aim to win the National Employee Status a second time in a row in 2017.
Ryan Alcock

Peter Smith Destination Marketing

img_1722On Friday the 3rd of February, the Marketing Manager of Liverpool Vision Peter Smith delivered a presentation to the Level H Tourism Students on marketing the city as a tourist destination. Peter works for Marketing Liverpool, which is a branch of Liverpool Vision. Marketing Liverpool is primarily responsible for promoting the city to increase tourism and generate investment into the city.

He started off talking about how important the visitor economy is to Liverpool and tourism as an organic whole, which massively contributes 5% of GDP to the UK. The tourism industry attracts 61.5 million visitors per year; is worth £106 billion; creates 3.1million jobs, of which 9.6 million are tourism related jobs in the UK. Peter presented facts and figures on the benefits of tourism in Liverpool as follows; it supports almost 50,000 jobs; and it is the 6th most popular destination in the UK.

Another interesting fact was that Australia, USA, Germany, and Holland are the most popular international tourist arrivals to Liverpool in that order. Peter gave a brief history about the regeneration of Liverpool from the 1950s to date. The Liverpool economy was thriving in the 1950s mainly because of the docks, which made it the second highest trading point in the world. By the 80s and 90s however Liverpool experienced a period of decline and needed government assistance.

In 2003 Liverpool won the bid to be the 2008 European Capital of Culture, which brought in masses of investment to prepare the city for the mega-event. The event was a huge success; attracting 9.7 million visitors to the city and generated £780 million into the city and invigorated its hubs. Peter was also proud to mention that the city has gained its World Heritage status awarded by UNESCO. The shopping area of Liverpool 1 also revitalised the city drawing huge global brands to do business, which attracts 2 million visitors per month to its 43 acres (the size of 23 football pitches). Among other redeveloped projects in Liverpool are the Liverpool Echo Arena, its Cruise Line and Camp & Furnace in Jamaica Street. The Beatles experience is also a huge attraction in itself and still generates an enormous value of £80 million to the city per year.

After this he went on to talk about upcoming work projects and the aims of Marketing Liverpool, which is to encourage business tourism in the weekdays whilst maintaining and increasing the cities weekend visitors. Peter explained that major cities in the world have its own place branding identity, and that Marketing Liverpool are finding ways to enhance theirs.

He showed two video examples of Brussels (Belgium) and Cleveland (USA) using innovative ideas to attract visitors. As a response to the over exaggeration of Brussels being a dangerous place; Belgium created a tourism campaign called #CallBrussels. The project involved three outdoor telephone booths located across the city that allowed internationals to call the local people and ask questions about the city as a tourist destination. The similarities between Cleveland and Liverpool are apparent as both are renowned for its musical heritage and both had a period of decline, so Peter showed how city branding has helped shaped Cleveland.

Marketing Liverpool aims are to communicate the cities brand positively and imaginatively to local, national, and global audiences. Peter discussed the organisation’s track record of attracting major conferences and events, which improve visitor numbers. He emphasised the objective to advance Liverpool’s reputation as a leading UK Business destination, and make the city thrive during weekdays as well as weekends.

He then touched upon Digital & Social platforms, which is a cost-effective way for Marketing Liverpool to promote their offerings to local and national users directly. He revealed that Marketing Liverpool is active on four social media platforms used to market the city to online potential travellers. Peter claimed this is a good way to let the people in Liverpool share their real-life experience around the city through social media such as Instagram and Facebook. Although the future has many challenges for Liverpool, with the reduction of public funding and increased competition, Liverpool Vision and Marketing Liverpool are confident that the future is looking promising for the region.

Ryan Alcock

Jennie Lewis, PR and Crisis Management.

 

On Wednesday 1st February, Jennie Lewis from Your Business E-zine (YBE) delivered a lecture to Liverpool Hope’s second year marketing students. Jennie is a one of the directors at YB PR, and has over 8 years’ experience in business and consumer PR, managing both Business to Business and Business to Customer campaigns.  Jennies experience has helped her and her team to establish and sustain relationships with local and regional business leaders, cultural and economic agencies, as well as press and media.

Her colleague, Tony McDonough, accompanied Jennie. Tony is an award-winning journalist with over 25 years’ experience as a business journalist for the Liverpool Echo.  Jennie’s lecture focused on Crisis management, PR, and Marketing Communications.

Jennie began by giving students a brief overview of Your Business PR and Your Business E-zine. She joined the YB team in 2014. As a former journalist, Jennie brought her detailed knowledge of the world of journalism to the world of PR and to YB E-zine. YB Ezine is a virtual platform to report business news to local and online audiences. They now have a reach of over 60,000 individual users.  The team is now focused on building the site to be a credible news source for local businesses.

Jennie then talked about how YB PR approach crisis management and PR, focusing their examples on the Liverpool City region. Jennie stated that the current fluctuating climate has changed how news organisations decide what news they are going to present. Advancements in technology has also changed how people consume media, with an increasing number of people choosing to read shorter articles on mobile devices.  This has meant that Jennie and the team at YB have had to adapt accordingly, melding creative and traditional methods of PR to engage audiences and journalists.  Tony added that even working as a journalist, has also been subject to these vast changes. These changes and particularly the relationship between journalists and PR companies have led to different ways of working. In the past, simply sending a press release was enough. However today, content needs to be more engaging and rewarding for the reader to be published.

Both Jennie and Tony agreed that PR today has a broader scope than traditional PR. She said that although the majority of her work is based on traditional forms of PR, crisis communications, reputation management, sponsorship opportunities, and distribution. Increasingly she has had to use less traditional forms of communication. Tony stated that people have progressed from just being consumers of news to becoming both producers and consumers. This is one challenge that modern PR companies and journalists have to navigate. Jennie stated that one way that she deals with this challenge was to focus on video content more than text content. In addition to this she also suggested that brands collaborate with bloggers and vloggers to reach a wider audience, however brands need to ensure that the partnership between brand and bloggers/vloggers is an honest one as audience can sense when they are being lied to.

To demonstrate how her role in PR has changed, Jennie gave students real life examples of companies that she is currently working with. Her first example was her work with the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce. As the Chamber of Commerce is one of Jennie’s more traditional clients, meeting the staff and setting clear achievable goals and planning out a path to achieving these goals was a crucial step in developing the relationship between the Chamber and the public. Involving the Chief Executive in local discussions, who is very engaging helped raise the chambers profile and the work they do.

This was a truly interesting lecture. Jennie and Tony gave students great advice about how people in PR operate in the ‘real world’. Although the work that Jennie and Tony they do does not rigidly follow the theories student learn in class, it is the foundation of everything that in PR.

Sandra Quarcoo

David Pricthard, Sales Management

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On Monday 30th January, David Pritchard delivered a lecture to our third year marketing students. David focused his lecture on sales management. David is a sales manager for Star Pubs, which is a leased pub business of Heineken. He discussed his experience as a sales manager and shared a few of the lessons he had learned over the years.

David began his career with Cannon, although he was not the best salesperson, he was willing to work hard and learn as much as he could from the people around him. David stated that what he loved most about his time at Canon was how much he learnt from his mistakes and how his line managers tackled problems. David then spoke about how he implemented all that he had learnt from his time at Cannon and applied it to the beverages industry and his work with Star Pubs.

Throughout his time as sales manager he has learned that brands are about people. Although this is true in every sector, it is even more so in the beverages industry.  David simplified this to students with the phrases ‘What do people see when they see you’ and ‘People buy from people’

Following this, David shared four things he had learned during his time at Star Pubs. Firstly, David discussed the importance of preparation; he referred to this as ‘inches’.  For David, this means ensuring that your team covered the little details, this helps the team gain inches, eventually these inches will add up to yards/successes.

Secondly, David discussed cause and effect. David simplified this as ‘everything happens for a reason’. This belief drives him to look further into the reasons behind successes and failures, and discover what the underlining causes were.

Thirdly, David introduced the phrase ‘Copy, learn, adopt, repeat’. For David, this referred to copying what previous successful managers and operators had done, learning from their mistakes or triumphs, adopting the lessons and their plans into your own team, whilst ensuring that you mould the plans to suit your team. Finally, simply repeat what had been successful, making improvements every time.

David further reiterated the notion that ‘people buy from people’. As such Sales Managers like himself, need to ensure that they have the best possible people around them, and that each member of that team is performing at their best. David does this by examining them on multiple aspects, including attitude, pride, customer feedback, their motivations, how they work in a team and do they deliver on tasks.  Although this aspect of his work is not an implicit requirement, this is still vital to ensure that his team performs at their highest levels.

David ended his lecture by giving students advice on how to navigate the world of work.  He implored students to keep learning and apply their knowledge, even after they graduate. Gaining a wide skill set and knowledge expands horizons and improves employability. Finally, David asked students to remember that work is just a game so make sure they play it.

Sandra Quarcoo

Paul Grover, The Atlantic Gateway

On Thursday, 26th January, Paul Grover delivered a lecture to Liverpool Hope University’s Business Management students. Paul is the associate director at Arup, a multinational services firm, providing services in design, engineering, consulting and project management. In addition to his role at Arup, Paul is also a trustee of Sunflowers, a Liverpool Cancer support charity as well as Chair of the Tate Liverpool Development Committee.

Paul began his lecture by giving a brief history of Arup and the work that they do. Founded in 1946, Arup’s initial focus was on structural engineering. They first caught the world’s attention with their captivating structural design of the Sydney Opera House, and their work on the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Since then, Arup has grown into a multidisciplinary organisation. Their recent work for the Singapore Sports Hub has confirmed Arup’s status for delivering groundbreaking sustainable designs that reinvents the environment.

Paul then gave students a brief look at the Atlantic Gateway. He started by explaining that The Atlantic Gateway is one of the significant development opportunities in the UK. Focusing on the corridor between Liverpool and Manchester, Atlantic Gateway works with a variety of significant private and public sector partners on a range of priorities that are crucial to driving growth and increasing productivity across Atlantic Gateway and Northern Powerhouse.  

After giving a brief overview of Atlantic Gateway, Paul divulged more details about the project, and how it could potentially affect the region both socially and economically. Paul stated that there was a number of areas of particular interest for him and his team.

Firstly, the team focused on growth, and in particular growth through innovation. Atlantic Gateway could potentially bring 250,000 – 380,000 new job opportunities for the region. However, Paul stressed the need for the opportunity for growth to be sustainable, not just in terms of sustainable job creation but also to ensure that these jobs do not have a detrimental effect on the environment. Paul explained that cities in the North of England generally have a high quality of life for inhabitants. For Paul, this was one asset that the region must strive to maintain as it grows.

Paul further discussed that another key area is connectivity. He highlighted the need for the region’s major cities to be better connected.  Explaining that connecting cities would also connect the regions workforce and improve the regions logistical capabilities. Improving the region’s main infrastructure, such as redeveloping major transport hubs like airports and train stations. This would be a major benefit to international companies looking for a Gateway into Europe, as access to major European cities would be just a few hours away.

The lecture was a fantastic insight into understanding the major developments taking place across the region. It was very interesting to see just how these large-scale developments could affect students and graduates alike, making their world more accessible and giving them brand new jobs that previously would not have existed.

Sandra Quarcoo