Prize winning students help local organisations solve their business challenges

(left to right) Omar Maqtoush, Kevin Ranasinghe, Jennifer Hudson (client), and Jamie Robertson

A project to help a Portsmouth-based company, which provides social care training and support throughout the UK, has won top prize at the University of Portsmouth’s Business Consultancy Project (BCP) Awards.

The team of four students (Kevin Ranasinghe, Omar Maqtoush, Kai Yiu Chow and Jamie Robertson) won the award and £500 for its work with Hudson Blake to improve their sales and marketing. The company offers consultancy and training for care staff helping people with learning disabilities and first aid.

The judges were impressed with the depth and quality of the students’ work. The team surveyed key stakeholders and tested their theories with advertising. They redeveloped the company’s website and social media to ensure a more consistent and impactful image. They supported the company’s uptake of Trust Pilot, which now has 19 5-star reviews with 167 views in a month, significantly raising the profile of Hudson Blake.

Jennifer Hudson, Managing Director and Lead Trainer for Hudson Blake, said: “The team not only investigated routes to market but taught me about the things they had done, why and how. This allows me to carry on utilising their work beyond the Business Consultancy Project.”

The team was one of 41 teams on this year’s Business Consultancy Project (BCP) module, who worked with clients from all types of organisation in the local area. The teams had the additional challenge of working through the COVID-19 pandemic, which helped them develop their virtual team working skills, with four teams based in China.

One of these teams worked with Whiteley-based recruitment firm Sert, to help them develop their markets in the Middle East. Another team had people in different time zones from Mexico to Romania, helping Hampshire-based firm Planet Aware market their services to help festival goers and organisers to reduce waste, once lockdown restrictions start to lift later in the year.

Clair Martin, who runs community-focused company Seekers Create, praised the students for introducing her business to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, as this is an area of growing importance for the company.

BCP Module Coordinator and Senior Teaching Fellow Peter Wainwright said: “We approached the challenging COVID-19 situation with a positive mind-set. Despite the many struggles, student learning was in many ways enhanced by having more effective ways of sharing information and students could be more easily connected to clients.”

The BCP module involves small teams of students from the University’s Faculty of Business and Law working with local organisations to solve their business challenges and produce sustainable solutions.

The BCP module has been running for many years and more than 200 local organisations have benefitted from the creativity and fresh perspectives that the students bring.

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