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Students team up with traders at historic market town

13th June 2018

A group of final year business students at Northumbria University have teamed up with Morpeth & District Chamber of Trade to help retailers in the town boost sales and create a vibrant destination for local companies and the community to thrive.

Ken Brown, chair of Morpeth & District Chamber of Trade, explains: “Morpeth, like towns across the country, is increasingly competing with the internet to thrive. While the Chamber has made commendable efforts to develop Morpeth and its local trade, we feel there is room for change and improvement.

“We approached the Business Clinic at Northumbria University to tap into bright, emerging talent to see if the business leaders of tomorrow could devise a marketing and events strategy to better support trade and tourism in the town and they did not disappoint.”

The Business Clinic model at Northumbria University’s Newcastle Business School involves groups of business students forming a ‘consultancy firm’ to provide free advice to clients. Students are asked to analyse the problem they are presented, consider possible solutions and provide a detailed report and full presentation of their recommendations. The service is available to all types of businesses from SMEs and multinationals to charities and third sector organisations.

“The students have been extremely thorough in their research, meeting with local businesses and hosting focus groups with retailers, people in the local community and wider stakeholders. 

“The strategy they’ve produced is excellent and deliverable. It encompasses digital marketing to drive engagement between the local community, visitors and retailers. They have also devised an exciting annual events plan which plays to the town’s strengths around heritage and culture and will appeal across the age groups.

“I feel we have greatly benefited from the experience. The team has really run with the brief and come up with a very professional, comprehensive strategy designed to position Morpeth as a destination for individuals and families to come and enjoy their leisure time,” says Ken.

In 2017, the Business Clinic was ‘Highly Commended’ by the British Academy of Management Education Practice Awards Panel for its role in bringing students and businesses together to identify and deliver genuine solutions for real businesses.

Nigel Coates, director of the Business Clinic, said: “We have been delighted to work with Morpeth & District Chamber of Trade. They are an organisation proactively tackling a very real issue for high street retailers and local communities. We are proud of our students and the professional approach they’ve taken. This type of experiential education is crucial in their development and helps to give them a competitive edge as they take their next career steps in the business world after graduation.”

Morpeth & District Chamber of Trade is a non-government organisation currently comprising 48 local businesses paying membership fees. Their goal is to further the interests of the local business community. Members gain access to a wide range of benefits including, but not limited to, discounts on participation in events, business development and networking opportunities.

 

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