Medicine Hat College (MHC) recently launched a Small Business Work Term pilot project which is designed to help six local companies execute their marketing and communications plans through employment of students from the college’s business program. The summer interns involved in the project include Anglea Duren, Nikayla MacNaughton, Joel Higgins and Sarah-Lynn Friesen.
Higgins explains that the focus of their work term is a result of BR&E surveys completed earlier in the year that identified the key needs of companies looking to expand in the region. “One of the key findings was that small businesses need assistance with being strategic with their marketing, so we’ve been hired to assist with creating and implementing a plan.”
Thanks to a partnership between MHC’s Division of Business and Enterprise and the Alberta Rural Development Network (ARDN) companies selected to participate in the program only have to commit $1,000 towards hard marketing costs- design, websites, pamphlets, etc. Students’ wages and other expenses are covered by the college and ARDN from April 28 to August 15, 2014.
“It’s nice to show them that even for $1,000 there are students eager to do this work,” said Higgins. “Small businesses are not only seeing the type of return that comes from focusing on strategic marketing but also that there are students coming out of the college with skills that are valuable.”
The students mentioned that overall the companies came in very open-minded and seemed impressed by their work. “We brainstormed (as a group) to come up with creative concepts that would help the companies reach their goals,” said MacNaughton. “Once we did that we pitched our ideas to them, which they approved, and now we are in the implementation phase.”
The companies involved in the pilot project include Medicine Hat Public Library; Elegant Exposures, a photography business; McBrides Bakery; Medicine Hat Meat Traders; Kikin, an online startup; and Blossoms, the creator of fresh fruit arrangements.
Higgins explained that they are optimistic of the results that will come from their work and is hopeful that the initiative will generate more support and funding. If this pilot project proves successful there are a number of institutions looking to implement it in their area.
For more information on the BR&E project contact Jon Sookocheff, manager of MHC’s Entrepreneur Development Centre at 403.504.3585 or Miranda Davies, instructor with the department of business at 403.504.3589.
For more information on other projects occurring at Medicine Hat College visit www.mhc.ab.ca.
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