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Innovative ideas available to businesses during annual Thinkubator Challenge

8 October 2019

Organisations of all sizes seeking new and innovative ideas to support growth are being invited to take part in this year’s Thinkubator Challenge at Nottingham Business School (NBS).

On Wednesday 13 November, NBS, which is celebrating four decades of innovation in business education, will dedicate its full resource to solving real challenges submitted by a variety of businesses including SME’s and non-profit organisations.

The Thinkubator Challenge, now in its seventh year, sees a mixture of postgraduates and final year undergraduate students split into ‘thinking hubs’ where they use their collective knowledge to solve one challenge each.

The students are supported by expert academics, business management researchers and NBS Alumni Fellows.

Businesses present their challenge to a dedicated hub and students have three hours to research, analyse and evaluate the problem.

While the groups are working, businesses are invited to attend a series of masterclasses before returning to the hub for a summary presentation. NBS will also be hosting a Business Leaders Lecture by Frances Haque, Chief Economist for Santander UK on Where is the UK economy heading – what might the future impacts be? the night before Thinkubator, which businesses are invited to attend.

The unique award-winning event supports the growth of local and national businesses and is the only event of its kind in Europe. Being a world leading business school, NBS holds a Small Business Charter (SBC) Award for the role it plays in helping to create and develop British enterprise through its links with, and support for, the small business community.

In June 2019 NBS achieved Small Business Charter (SBC) reaccreditation for 5 years. The award winning Thinkubator Challenge was highlighted as an exemplar in the sector. Over the past six years, NBS staff and students have tackled a total 260 business challenges with 80% of these coming from small businesses.

Roger Luxton, Director of Solutions Consulting at Alterian, took part in last year’s Thinkubator event, he said: “I was really impressed with the enthusiasm and energy of the team who worked on our business challenge. The students were able to give us new perspectives and produced multiple actionable ideas that we plan to explore further.”

NBS Alumna Rebecca Bull took part in the Thinkubator Challenge whilst studying at NTU. Now the owner of My HR Hub, she was able to return by submitting her very own business challenge.

“It’s always great to get view points from others who are outside of the business,” she said.

“My business has benefitted immensely from working in partnership with NTU. The students are so passionate about solving business challenges and the results they bring in such a short time are very impressive. I felt privileged to have so much talent giving me advice and tips on how I should develop the business here on in.

“I was excited to implement the social media marketing insights gained and I can’t thank the NBS students enough for their inspiration and creativity.”

Melanie Currie, Deputy Dean of Nottingham Business School at Nottingham Trent University, said: “Thinkubator is an initiative that allows collaboration between our students and the business world, giving our highly sought after NBS students the chance to work on real-life situations, with both parties benefitting from their retrospective knowledge and experience.

“As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of NBS, we want to continue developing relationships within the business community. Those that take part in Thinkubator can benefit from fresh ideas and advice which can have a significant impact on their bottom line and most importantly, help support business growth.”
Although Thinkubator is a one-day event, relationships often thrive afterwards. In some cases, students have visited the organisation they worked with to follow-up with additional work and consultancy.

For further information or to submit a challenge, visit the Thinkubator website. The closing date for all applications will be on Friday 1 November. Businesses are required to send a representative to the event.

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