University Of Leeds

Three Projects Under One Brand. Empowering Struggling Business Owners, Supporting Start-Ups And Inspiring Youths With Potential


The main needs the project was seeking to address was the decline of business in the local area due to many similar businesses in operation, the closure of the largest residential halls and an increasing number of locals shopping in the city. In 2011 we started to address this need by providing student-led consultancy to local businesses. Over the years this has proved very successful, improving the profit of local businesses and owners’ confidence, all the while making their businesses more sustainable. The project then developed to provide energy consultancy services to the businesses, improving their environmental prospects and cutting crucial costs. This year we carried on with these elements and started a new project brand (Mentoring you) to run workshops for individuals who had the desire to start their own business but lacked the skills and confidence to do so. To improve local business on a wider level, we then created the project Inspiring you, which looks to empower school children to take the steps to improve their future either by university or starting businesses, whilst improving their knowledge of the importance of local business. 

taking action

For the Consulting You branch, we split our members into different teams specifically suited for the different businesses’ needs. Each team then undertake a needs assessment for their individual business and create short and long consultancy term plans to meet their desired needs so the owners are empowered to meet their goals. The teams transfer knowledge on various business aspects including social media, marketing and finance. After the timeframe specified, we assess if the goals have been met and either set new goals, stop that collaboration or implement new strategies to get them back on track. For Mentoring You, we run a 7 week workshop with our partner, Pivot Works, to transfer knowledge and skills to our beneficiaries to empower them to run their own business.  We provide interactive sessions where participants can trial and talk about their own business ideas, and participate in a range of interesting and creative tasks that are directly tailored to the participant’s level of knowledge and particular business. Then, by providing a 5 week enterprise programme, Inspiring you, teaches school children about career opportunities and business skills whilst improving their confidence and soft skills in the innovative way of creating their own business.

enabling progress  

For the consulting you branch, the project improved the prospects of 5 businesses which secured their future and the 16 jobs that these businesses employ as well as creating 2 new job opportunities within the businesses. For Lisa, the owner of slips deli, the project empowered her to create an outside catering business which at provided her business with an extra revenue of £1,186 in the last Enactus year. By providing two of the businesses with energy consultancy services we also empowered the owners to save over 3 tonnes of carbon dioxide with savings in excess of £500. For Mentoring you, we helped provide 8 entrepreneurs with the skills and confidence to make their business ideas/employment dreams a reality by the workshops we ran with the Pivot Works organisation. One lady is now in the position to start her own cleaning business, which will provide a better standard of living for her and her daughter as well as also providing employment for local people. The inspiring you project is now planned, and the sessions will commence in the new academic year, empowering over 30 school children. In the future we aim to set up an online hub where businesses and budding entrepreneurs all over the country can access our business resources, start conversations and share their own best practice to promote local business on a regional/nationwide level. We also aim to expand the schools programme to schools throughout Leeds and then provide other schools in the country with the resources and training to deliver the sessions themselves.