Patrick Hagedorn discusses the Elephant & Castle regeneration
How have you fared during lockdown?
The Business Solutions Centre had managed to go almost completely online before lockdown fully happened – in fact, we have some staff working from places are far reaching as Cyprus! We are still working well – we are a close team and work well together. It’s been a good experience working from home and still trying to do our bit for the people of Elephant and Castle even in these times.
What role have you taken on in the regeneration project?
In the arcade area between LSBU and UAL, there will be 15 new traders. Between September and December 2020, we will be conducting Zoom meetings with them.
What kind of support did you provide?
I helped them with market research and how they can not only modernise, but improve their business, especially the current climate considered – I tried to offer unique and contextual advice suited not only to their business needs, but situational ones.
I also conducted two or three workshops on Zoom for some practical hands on advice, and we were able to offer follow up one-to-one interviews if wanted by the traders.
How did you approach this work with the traders?
Our communication was professional with a similar tone – making sure each client was given equal and honest treatment. However, each client has different requirements, so you approach it differently. Our communication was very straightforward, but we realised that every trader has a unique situation and so a personalised treatment is given to make sure they are getting the best deal we can manage.
In particular, I was working with Meklit Fashion, a brand offering tailoring and alterations, so I had to tailor (excuse the pun) specific advice compared to any of the other variety of business, from Latin food to hardware stores.
How and why do you feel this is important?
It’s fantastic because I am part of something real and truly historic - a major centre of an international and vibrant city is changing in front of our eyes, and I can say I have helped some of these people. There’s a real human element to it – I'm not helping just major corporations, but real people like you and me.
Do you feel you could call this a unique learning experience?
Yes definitely. It’s not just part of the curriculum - It enables you to get very close to the rest of the team, but perhaps most importantly, I have been so lucky to be able to balance the theoretical marketing skills learnt in the classroom, with being allowed to get close to real world situations. It’s a joy to put into practice and use that knowledge you’ve learnt in the real world, and the fact that is quite historical for the area makes it even better. The Business Solutions Centre gave me a fantastic insight into the area.
Did you know you wanted to work in that role whilst at LSBU?
To be honest, I didn’t have any idea but I am very thankful I got the opportunity to do so while I am studying.
What do you think LSBU contributed to your current success?
Increased my network, I gained confidence in collaborating with other people from different backgrounds and gained an experience at an international university.
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