News from Cass Business School

MSc Management students test their entrepreneurial skills

Students were challenged to start new venture with £60

Tuesday, 9 March, 2010

What kind of venture can you start with seed funding of just £60?  This was the challenge put to MSc Management students recently as they embarked on an entrepreneurship challenge designed to help give them an understanding of what it’s like to start a new venture.
The students were divided into eight teams of five and were competing to set up and run a venture for at least one day, with the winning team generating the largest return on investment.  The students were encouraged to think creatively and use the resources around them to run their businesses.  So successful were the students that they made a combined profit of £1456.51 and no businesses ran at a loss.  The winning team received £100 and the rest of the money was donated to the British Dyslexia Association.
The Cass 5ive, the most profitable of the teams, generated earning revenues of just over £400 and a net profit of £350 by organising a class photo and selling prints of the photo to their fellow students.  The team consisted of Sushil Raniga, Danielle Brannon, Sankar Sivarajah, Ian Deeks and Sharadh Sindhia.
The teams were also able to call upon the professional advice of entrepreneur Claude Littner, well known for his role as advisor to Sir Alan Sugar on BBC television programme, The Apprentice.Sushil Raniga said: Claude’s insights enabled us to assess our ideas and feasibility of ideas thoroughly. During our team’s brainstorming session we came up with many concepts, with each playing to our strengths as a team. During the class, Claude mentioned that a management team needs to identify dedicated people willing to accept a new or changing dynamic. We realised the significance of this statement whilst we were executing the task on the day. The hurdles we faced constantly changed during this period. A lot of things we planned for went as intended, but a lot of things probably could have been done better. But as a team we adjusted and improvised to the constant changing environment and accomplished everyone’s orders and provided the best service we could.
Danielle Brannon said she particularly appreciated the challenge as she didn’t have any prior entrepreneurial experience, such as in a family business.  She said: It was incredibly exciting as this was a real chance to flex our entrepreneurial muscles for the first time. It seemed very real as we had the low start-up capital that is often common in entrepreneurial cases and had few resources to achieve something that could not only make us money but could ensure a unique business idea that stands apart from the rest of the market, which in this case was our class.
Julie Logan, Professor of Entrepreneurship, set the students the task and was thrilled with their successes.  She said: The students did really well to generate so much profit, which was much more than I had anticipated.  The learning curve for them has been enormous, particularly from one team that only just made a profit.  I was impressed with the variety of the businesses the students chose to run and the enthusiasm and strategic oversight which was employed.
Sushil said: "Reflecting back and sharing our experiences in class, we learnt that the fundamental element to success in business - no matter how big or small - is teamwork. The support and knowledge of each other is invaluable and working on a platform where sharing ideas, no matter how peculiar they may seem at first, motivated us to deliver a profitable business.

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