"Many of our students are running businesses within the retail and leisure sector. The aim of collaborating with STACK is to encourage them to network with local businesses to gain valuable insights."
Kellie Forbes-Simpson, Entrepreneurship Lecturer
Independent retailers based in STACK, Newcastle’s shipping container village and creative hub, recently teamed up with Newcastle Business School to share their enterprise experiences with students on Northumbria University’s Entrepreneurial Business Management (EBM) programme.
Owned and managed by Danieli Holdings Limited, STACK is the biggest scheme of its kind outside London, with a focus on supporting North East independent retailers. It is home to a vegan nail salon, ethical clothes store, barbershop, jewellers, pet store, coffee shop, perfumery and various bars and eateries.
The EBM programme at Northumbria University is unique in that students are expected to start and run their own businesses from day one.
Second-year EBM student Riccardo Burns, 26, from Italy, is currently developing his own clothing company specialising in high-quality branded and non-branded t-shirts. During the visit he secured a commission with the team at ‘Sushi Me Rollin’.
Describing the experience, Riccardo said: “Visiting STACK has been very helpful for me and my team. I believe a good network is important for entrepreneurial success and because I am an entrepreneur, even if only at a very early stage, I am trying to meet as many business owners in the area as I can.
“It was great to meet the fantastic chef-owners of ‘Sushi Me Rollin'. They have commissioned us to re-design a t-shirt as part of a branded merchandise range for their growing fan base. I hope our first collaboration will trigger many others.”
The visit to STACK was part of a week-long boot camp involving a number of workshops and visits across the city designed to develop students’ business skills through building new contacts with established entrepreneurs, providing vital insights into how to make a business work and growing their own business ideas.
Kellie Forbes-Simpson, lecturer in entrepreneurship, innovation and strategy at Northumbria University, explains: “Many of our students are running businesses within the retail and leisure sector.
“The aim of collaborating with STACK is to encourage them to network with local businesses to gain insights from personal experiences, whilst emphasising the benefit of building strong networks by speaking with other businesses and professionals in the region.
“We hope that introducing some of the entrepreneurs and growing businesses at STACK will foster some strong, mutually beneficial relationships with our students.”
The EBM programme at Northumbria University focuses on independent, real world learning, with students working to launch their own businesses and learn from their successes and mistakes. Commercial ideas are developed as a central aspect of the programme and students are encouraged to explore how to manage and grow their businesses independently. The programme is based on a Finnish model of education, called Team Academy, and Northumbria was one of the first two universities to pioneer this approach in the UK.
Kevin Walker, operations director at STACK, said: “Since opening the STACK it has become a real social hub in the centre of Newcastle and with the returning students, we are seeing a lot of them using the numerous facilities that we have.
“We actively encourage the local community to get involved with STACK and our students are a very important part of that community, so we are delighted to be able to help out and support them in their enterprise projects.”
The EBM programme is part of Northumbria’s award-winning Newcastle Business School; recognised as Business School of the Year in 2015 and more recently, the first North East Business School to win the Small Business Charter for services to SMEs. Newcastle Business School at Northumbria University is globally recognised for delivering some of the best business management education in the UK.
To find out more about available courses, including the EBM course, go to: www.northumbria.ac.uk/study-at-northumbria.