LSBU's Enterprise Ambassadors are getting other students involved in enterprise activity
Developing transferable skills
With enterprise encompassing far more than simply starting a business, LSBU recognises the importance of providing as many opportunities as possible for students to become involved, gain vital experience and learn sought-after skills. By doing so students develop transferable skills valuable to any career, and seize opportunities to gain experience outside of their degrees.
It’s really important because as students we can more easily communicate and share with the other students a lot of useful information about student enterprise. This in turn makes it easier for the Student Enterprise team to spread the word. We can also advise the Student Enterprise team on the best ways to increase their visibility among students on campus.
The Enterprise Ambassador Scheme
One of the ways the Student Enterprise team is providing support to students and graduates in order to develop practical skills and turn their ideas into a business or career is through the new Enterprise Ambassador scheme.
This project was established in spring 2016, with the idea behind it to recruit students to become Enterprise Ambassadors who then help the university increase student participation and engagement in enterprise during their time at LSBU.
Amplifying the student voice
In turn, LSBU’s Student Enterprise team supports the ambassadors to influence their peers and communicate the various activities taking place and assistance on offer. This is a great way of amplifying the student voice, while students gain valuable experience in key areas such as event management, organising lecture shout-outs and marketing competitions. From this, students gain an enhanced understanding of enterprise and entrepreneurship, and develop key communication, presentation and professional skills.
Meet the Enterprise Ambassadors
“I became interested in becoming a student enterprise ambassador, as I had previously been involved with student enterprise through the Entrepreneur in Action scheme in my first year at LSBU and then the Make it Happen competition the year after,” says Luke Bailey. “I really enjoyed working with the people in the Enterprise team through the schemes they provided and when I heard about a chance to work as part of the Ambassador team I applied straight away.
My role involves helping in the office with admin, setting up and manning job fairs and freshers’ fairs to provide information to the students. I also help the different schools at the university with employability days, get involved events such as competition finals and assist guest lectures and the entrepreneurs in residence with classes such as Develop and Grow."
Students have the ability to talk to fellow students about events, which therefore means a greater level of understanding when it comes to communicating about and marketing an event. The role is important as it gives students like me responsibility, exposing me to the working environment, and also encourages me to use my problem-solving skills to think of ways to reach fellow students.
Why it's such an important role
As an Msc Business Project Management student currently writing a dissertation on how project management knowledge and skills can be included with the entrepreneurial process and education, Arielle Manirakiza found out about the Ambassador scheme inadvertently after a recommendation for something else from a member of staff. “My professor advised me to get involved with the Clarence Centre, and that is how I landed on the student enterprise page on mylsbu.ac.uk where I learned about the position,” she reveals. “I’m so glad that I did find out about it though, as I’m really enjoying it.”
With Luke and Arielle clearly demonstrating that the Enterprise Ambassador role is one that brings with it wide and varied opportunities, why do those involved think it is important that LSBU develops projects such as this?
“It’s really important because as students we can more easily communicate and share with the other students a lot of useful information about student enterprise,” says Arielle. “This in turn makes it easier for the Student Enterprise team to spread the word. We can also advise the Student Enterprise team on the best ways to increase their visibility among students on campus.”
These thoughts are echoed by fourth year Business Studies student Naseeba Mhearban, who adds: “Students have the ability to talk to fellow students about events, which therefore means a greater level of understanding when it comes to communicating about and marketing an event. The role is important as it gives students like me responsibility, exposing me to the working environment, and also encourages me to use my problem-solving skills to think of ways to reach fellow students.
“For me, I see the role as being sociable as you need to be able to start conversations between staff and students in order to encourage curiosity amongst students and make them ask more questions about what's going on in the university. It involves often being on the frontline, representing events and departments to help create a personalised approach. I have had a good time, as I enjoy talking to students and love having the ability to choose when to work. Having some supplementary income is no bad thing either!”
“I’m definitely of the opinion that it really is important to help students understand what enterprise is and give them a chance to be a part of it,” explains Luke. “Even if they may not have an amazing idea, students can still learn and benefit from all of the enterprise-related services that the university offers.”
“The Enterprise Ambassador role is so important because I, as both an ambassador and student, am able to relate to other students and their positions, which makes it easier for me to advise them with regards to enterprise,” says Julieta Ose Ahmedze, a first year Business student. “At events, students are able to speak to me about any concerns or questions they possess.”
Enjoying the job
While it is apparent that all of the students involved feel that the Ambassador role is both important and rewarding, what have they enjoyed most about it so far?
“The Student Enterprise team is a delight to work with, we have encountered some very inspiring and motivating speakers, and I am getting comfortable with networking and talking to people I don’t know,” explains Arielle.
“For me, I have enjoyed the role a lot so far, as I get the opportunity to do a job that has me working all around the university and that gives me a chance to grow my network by meeting with other students, lecturers and employees of the university. By being involved with student enterprise, it has also given me the opportunity to become a part of the Armed Forces Covenant Panel, which is something that I am so grateful for,” adds Luke.
Meanwhile, for Naseeba, she says that working with a team of staff that is helpful and down to earth is the best thing about the role, alongside “how active and direct the role is, and I love having the ability to be flexible in my role and make it work around my schedule.” She does, however, have one regret. “I just wish I had gotten involved earlier!”