Northumbria University’s Business Clinic steps up

Northumbria University’s Business Clinic steps up

The Business Clinic is enjoying a relocation to purpose-built premises in the heart of the city, and a £150,000 boost from Santander Universities UK.

The Business Clinic is an education scheme where business students participate in a ‘consultancy firm’ to provide advice for clients. The free service is available to all types of businesses from SMEs and multinationals to charities, social enterprises and not-for-profit organisations. Students are encouraged to get to the root of the problem and deliver genuine solutions for real businesses.

It’s part of Northumbria University’s award-winning Business School; the first North East Business School to win the Small Business Charter for services to SMEs.

To date, the Business Clinic has helped more than 600 students advise over 145 organisations including the Dyspraxia Foundation, Northumbria Police, North West Ambulance Service, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Greggs plc, Helix Arts and Parker Hannifin.

Catherine Hearne, chief executive of Helix Arts, worked with the Business Clinic last year. She said: “I’ve been blown away by the energy, enthusiasm and ideas the team brought to our brief. They went far beyond our expectations. We'd asked them to explore the feasibility of Helix Arts diversifying into events management and were highly impressed that they went several steps further and were able to make a recommendation that not only is there a gap in the market, they even highlighted the specific areas we could target our expertise.”

The University has invested over £800,000 to move the Business Clinic to New Bridge Street, and has secured support from Santander Universities UK to play an integral role in maximising the positive impact of the Clinic’s activities. Through an annual donation of £50,000 per year for three years, the partnership will fund student placements and internships with business clients.

Since its formation in 1996, Santander Universities has donated over €1 billion to more than 1,200 universities in 20 countries through scholarships, research grants and mobility awards designed to enable enterprise, employability, internationalisation and innovation. 

Matt Hutnell, director of Santander Universities UK, said: “Our purpose at Santander is to help people and businesses prosper. Initiatives such as the Business Clinic at Northumbria University are excellent examples of how this can be achieved, with students gaining an insight into the working world whilst at the same time helping to drive growth in local SMEs.

“We are delighted to support the University on such a great initiative. The Santander Universities Internships Programme will provide more Northumbria students and graduates with new opportunities to secure valuable work experience and we also look forward to continuing this rewarding partnership.”

Nigel Coates, Director of the Business Clinic, said: “Few universities in the UK offer their business students the opportunity to work directly with business leaders but Northumbria is an exception.  Since 2013, the Business Clinic has been supporting our final-year undergraduate and Masters’ students to provide clients with a free-of-charge, full consultancy service under the supervision of experienced staff.

“The Business Clinic’s new premises also offer the ideal venue for growing numbers of SMEs and social enterprises that are expressing their need to us for external engagement and networking opportunities.

“The scheme undoubtedly strengthens University-business collaboration and the Business Clinic’s ethos embodies Northumbria’s belief in effective partnerships as one of the most powerful drivers for business success, especially in today’s fiercely competitive and constantly changing economic environment. 

“In addition to the Clinic’s consultancy service, our internationally renowned academics and energised students can be mobilised to support businesses through Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, Continuing Professional Development courses, Executive Coaching, Degree Apprenticeships, Intellectual Property advice, collaborative research and many other initiatives.”

The launch event was attended by partners from the North East business community including the NELEP, NEECC, CBI and businesses the Business Clinic has previously worked with.

Newcastle Business School was the Times Higher Education magazine's UK Business School of the Year for 2015. Northumbria University is the number one university in the North East for 'good industry connections' according to the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2015-16.