Bridges for Enterprise (BfE) is a diverse community which brings together social entrepreneurs from across the world, professional mentors in a variety of corporate roles, and student who deliver the BfE Programme. Students are involved in different teams spread across four city chapters which work together to complete financial, legal and consulting engagements to empower social enterprises. This week, the Communications Team asked Hilary Thean Xiao Yen, Director of the Consulting Team, and Olivia Lam to elaborate on their work in the Team.
One of the ways in which BfE empowers social enterprises to achieve their ambitions is by providing strategic consulting advice. This is the work of the Consulting Team, which manages the first stage of the BfE Programme. The team brings the enterprise in contact with student consultancies from respected universities around the globe as well as a professional mentor from the BfE Network. They maintain regular contact in order to support the entrepreneur throughout the eight-week engagement. This process is vital in assisting social enterprises to develop tailored, sound strategies that will enable them to reach their goals.
As of Autumn 2017, the work of the Consulting Team was significantly modified, when it acted for the first time as an in-house student consultancy team. This meant that instead of matching the social enterprise with another student consultancy, they developed marketing strategy advice directly, with the assistance of one of BfE’s mentors. The opportunity to enable members to develop their strategic decision-making and directly contribute to the success of social enterprises proved very rewarding for the team. In the words of Xiao Yen, “It was extremely fulfilling to be part of engaging discussions with the clients and mentors. Learning more about their challenges and having the opportunity to play an important role in helping them was inspiring and satisfying.”
However, the engagement was not without its challenges. As Olivia explains, “We had to create many things from scratch, from the report template to a consulting framework and a timeline”. As a result of the hard work that this conversion to an in-house consultancy entailed, the experience of our members increased significantly, and they are ready to manage new projects in the following months.
Reflecting on the dynamic growth that the team has seen over the last few months, Olivia also believes that the experience has offered them a fresh perspective on BfE’s work and vision. “I love that everyone from team members to management levels are very enthusiastic about the cause of BfE. Receiving the newsletter and updates about chapters from around the world every week in my inbox are always a delight. I really felt like I am part of a movement for change.”
Many thanks to Olivia and Xiao Yen for their contributions to this article and for all their enthusiasm, dedication and work for BfE.