With one in five professionals owning their own business, the Gold Coast is one of Australia’s most entrepreneurial cities.
And as the future of work continues to evolve, graduates have never had more power to create their own careers and build their businesses from the ground up.
Bond’s Bachelor of Business subjects, Business Model Generation and Business Model Execution, takes every business student through the start-up and commercialisation process of creating an actual enterprise.
For many business students, the ideas they develop become fully-fledged businesses they can continue well after their final exams.
Fredrik Erséus enrolled in the Business Model Generation subject in September 2019 and is now completing the Business Model Execution subject. Alongside a team of seven other students, Fredrik’s not-for-profit project, Klean Blue, comprises environmentally friendly, collapsible lunch bags inspired by the desire to make a difference.
“As we progressed through our research we found that the underlying reasons for students not bringing food to campus was partly due to the lack of refrigerators at convenient locations, as well as traditional lunch bags being too bulky, hence the collapsible Klean Blue lunch bag” explains Fredrik.
“The lunch bag itself is made of waxed canvas, a vegan material with low environmental impact. Since the project is not-for-profit, a purchase of the product contributes to our profit, which is donated to help those affected by the bushfires.”
During the customer discovery and market research stages of the project, Frederik and his team interviewed more than one hundred students, staff and potential consumers.
They considered the financial aspects of the business, ensuring it was viable, and began the process of sourcing a manufacturer that could provide the product to their standards and within budget requirements.
It can be a steep learning curve at times, but it’s all about preparing students for the real world of business.
“Having an idea of a business and actually initiating a business are two completely different things,” says Fredrik.
“The process from Business Model Generation to Business Model Execution has included most major elements of starting a business. Everything from researching the initial idea, creating the business model and sourcing and selling the product.
“It gives you a lot of perspective, respect, but also must importantly understanding of the value of certain frameworks and concepts and how using those can avoid mistakes. And more importantly, how to learn from the mistakes we do make.”
Assisted by a loan provided by Bond Business School, Fredrik and his team produced 200 units to sell before the end of the semester. The Bond Business School provides the finance as a forgivable loan to students, who then repay the University once they have broken even, with all proceeds going to charity.
The sales deadline – semester’s end - replicated a real business environment where targets need to be met to keep the business afloat.
“The biggest contributing factors for making our sales target have been clear and regular communication, encouraging individual sales, as well as feedback and key take-aways on how we can improve our sale pitch,” says Fredrik.
“The sales feedback and making sure we progress as a team have really helped the group members with confidence and motivation to look beyond our friends and family for sales.”
Klean Bags has been well-received by Fredrik’s customers, something he largely puts down to the combination of practicality and philanthropy.
As he approaches the end of the semester, Fredrik says he has gained a deeper understanding of what it takes to make a business work.
“Being able to go beyond theory and actually getting practical experience creates a stronger connection between previous experience or expectations, theory and outcome,” he says.
“Creating a learning outcome that sticks and being able to donate our profits is of course a great bonus.”
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