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Business Clinic hits new milestones in anniversary year

18th June 2024

The Business Clinic at Northumbria University has hit a series of notable milestones in its tenth anniversary year.

Since the Business Clinic was launched by Nigel Coates in 2014, it has delivered 780 consultancy projects involving more than 3,100 students across all business subjects.It offers pro-bono consultancy support to SMEs, multi-national organisations, charitable organisations, educational trusts and social enterprises that operate across a wide range of sectors, both in the North East of England as well as further afield in the UK and overseas.

Students work at the Business Clinic within their final year of study, offering clients a full consultancy experience that takes in projects as diverse as feasibility studies including finance, investment and growth; HR including recruitment, retention and diversity; marketing including branding and digital; business analytics; logistics and supply chain management. The aim of each project is to undertake research and make recommendations that will benefit organisations in the short and long term.

Nigel Coates said: “The Business Clinic at Northumbria is a trailblazing initiative for experiential learning. It has led the way in the sector and been widely replicated in other areas of the country.

“Over the last decade we’ve provided more than 3,000 students with opportunities to apply their knowledge, skills and entrepreneurial talent to create solutions to real-world problems and add value to organisations in a variety of ways. Collectively, this is helping to power an inclusive economy and enabling people, many of whom are from under-represented backgrounds, to get on in life and progress their careers.”

Among this year’s cohort of students are Lucy Walker and Lauren Oxer, who worked together to create a digital marketing strategy to raise the profile of David Fairlamb Fitness (DFF) to existing and new clients. DFF is a North East-based independent fitness and wellbeing business which has been operating for more than 25 years.

Lucy and Lauren undertook in-depth surveys and came up with a series of recommendations to help David promote his business, such as enhancing digital platforms to improve online presence, investing in strategic digital marketing, introducing gym management software and hosting community events to raise awareness of the business.

Lucy said: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Business Clinic. It has given me a real-life learning experience and the entrepreneurial skills to succeed in my career in marketing. The tutors offered amazing support when we needed it but they also gave us scope to trial our ideas and run the project in our own way.”

A survey conducted by the Business Clinic last year revealed that almost half (46%) of its students rated themselves as having the highest level of entrepreneurial mindset skills, compared to just 14% at the start of the course. Almost nine out of ten (86%) rated themselves in the top two categories (level four or five).Northumbria boasts some of the most entrepreneurial students anywhere in the UK and has been ranked in the top 10 for graduate business start-ups based on aggregate turnover, according to the Higher Education Business Community Interaction Survey (HEBCIS) in each of the past 15 years.

John McCabe, chief executive of the North East Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Business Clinic is a fantastic initiative that brings together the brightest minds to help organisations overcome tricky challenges. It really is helping to power the growth of key sectors in our regional economy and giving students fantastic opportunities to work on live projects and hone their entrepreneurial and commercial skills.”

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The Business Clinic

The Business Clinic is an education scheme whereby a group of business students participate in a ‘consultancy firm’ to provide advice for our clients. The service is offered for all types of businesses from SME’s, multi-national and through to not for profit organisations.

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