Curtin Growth Project –
Small Business Consulting

Industry and
Community Partner

Various

<div class="model-sub"><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <img class="icon-image" src="http://acen.edu.au/innovative-models/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/consulting.png" width=40px><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <div class="icon-text" <strong><h3>Consulting</h3></strong><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> </div><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --></div>

University

Curtin University

Innovative Features

  • Engaging multiple disciplines
  • Intra or entrepreneurial elements
  • Coach or mentor elements
  • Engages with SME’s

Enablers

Key enablers of the Curtin Growth Project include:

  • Multidisciplinary approach with final year students.
  • Minimal teaching component delivered by industry expert guest speakers.
  • Focus on displaying the skills of Curtin Students to SMEs.
  • Students approach a SME they would be keen to work with, in turn promoting their skills to a potential employer.
  • Space made in the curriculum for flexibility to connect with university staff and industry contacts in a business setting or on campus.
  • Assisting businesses in pre-growth phase who have needs but do not have the resources to fund consultants. This ensures the students are not competing with professional consultants.
  • Business owners negotiate project requirements with students.
  • The networking gala event hosted at the end of the unit brings together SMEs across various industries to network and learn key shared recommendations across the businesses.

For more information

Please contact Paul Weber at p.weber@curtin.edu.au

Final semester students from across the four Faculties at Curtin University enrol in the Small Business Growth unit at Curtin University. Students source their own work placement with a Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) as part of the Curtin Growth Project. The early weeks of semester focus on honing students’ competencies as small business quasi-consultants. During this time students deepen their understanding of the challenges of growth for small businesses through sessions delivered by industry expert guest speakers on key topics. Students then commence working with a SME on a substantial project over a 5 week period. There are no formal classes during this time, instead students spend a significant amount of time each week working within the SME, observing the owners, staff, customers and competitors. The unit is challenging, self-directed and unique compared with other units in undergraduate degrees. The business solutions that students identify as part of their work placements are presented as a report and accompanying debrief at a networking gala event which showcases concepts which are frequently adopted by the businesses.

Impact / outcomes

Students: Students are engaged and motivated by the real-world relevance, accountability and responsibility to industry partners. This drives student to go beyond project outcomes and stretch goals, build relationships, and develop a sense of accountability and responsibility for their personal learning and progress. Importantly, Curtin Growth Project validates the value of students’ learning, builds self-efficacy and clarifies career intentions. Further, students develop enhanced personal perceptions of their skills and greater awareness of their employability. The Curtin Growth Project gives students the competitive edge in the employment market post-tertiary education, and has led to direct employment outcomes for some students.

Host Organisations: The host organisations receive a strategic report on potential areas of business growth, which leads to potential partners to enable the implementation of ideas and areas to extend their business connections and networking. The mentors working within the host organisations may identify potential business referrals and gain credibility through their association with Curtin University. As well as the satisfaction of giving-back to the next generation of business professionals, host organisations engage with talent and are exposed to contemporary skill sets not normally readily available to SMEs.

Teaching Staff: The Curtin Growth Project is intrinsically motivating and rewarding for teaching staff. It also provides opportunity for engagement with SMEs, increasing teaching staff’s understanding of the needs of SMEs and emerging trends. Further, the partnership between teaching staff and SMEs enhances the University’s profile within this sector.

Student Assessment

Students are required to complete four submissions:

  1. Case Study – demonstrating an understand of the history of the SME and the business owner’s future direction.
  2. Mid-semester test – theory test (application and understanding of key literature for entrepreneurship consultancy).
  3. Individual report on the host organisation.
  4. Group recommendations.

Evaluation

Students evaluate the unit using Curtin University’s online system for gathering and reporting student feedback on teaching and learning experiences.

An optional evaluation form is provided to the host organisation.

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