Having access to clear, concise information is key to helping students explore their business ideas, according to Claire Adamson, Enterprise Manager at Newcastle University.
Claire manages the START UP team based in the university’s Careers Service. The team supports students and recent graduates (up to 3 years) to explore their business ideas and aspirations, and work freelance or start their own business.
The START UP team has access to premium online reference resources such as COBRA and Mintel.
“We typically use COBRA with those students who want to start up in business,” says Claire. “The way the factsheets are set out, they’re very clear and concise. They also have links, so if you do need to find out more, they signpost you to other sources of information.”
Following an initial drop-in session, students who are serious about their business idea can book further one-hour coaching sessions with a start-up adviser. Claire finds COBRA ideal for working with clients at this stage.
“Early on, we would be looking at using some of the market research data that is on COBRA. The business opportunity profiles we find really useful because it doesn’t overload them with information… I really like them as a jumping-off point to start looking at their idea and what it is that they need to consider.”
Once a student has researched their idea and has a viable business model, they are referred to a business adviser who will work with them on the practicalities of starting their business. At this stage, COBRA’s business information factsheets (practical ‘how-to’ and compliance guides) prove invaluable.
“Encouraging the students to read these types of factsheets in advance makes the meeting much more productive.” says Claire. “They come to these meetings in a much more informed position.”
Students can access COBRA from anywhere on and off campus. The START UP team can also e-mail COBRA factsheets, which adds flexibility, especially when working with alumni.
Both COBRA’s online interface and factsheets are custom-branded under the START UP banner, making the resource an integral part of START UP’s online information provision.
“The way the factsheets are set out, they’re very clear and concise. They also have links, so if you do need to find out more, they signpost you to other sources of information.”
Claire Adamson, Enterprise Manager, Newcastle University