Small-business owners who are interested in receiving free consultations from UCCI business students are invited to apply to the Student Consulting Programme, a joint initiative between UCCI and the Department of Commerce and Investment (DCI).
The deadline to apply is Tuesday, 4 February, and the student teams are expected to have their first visits to clients on Monday, 10 February. Cayman National Bank is sponsoring the programme, in order to cover expenses incurred by the students as part of their consultancy.
The 10-week programme matches each successful applicant with a team of students who are enrolled in the University College of the Cayman Islands' upper-level Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management course. The teams are guided in their consultancy by UCCI professors and DCI's business adviser.
'Since this programme was launched in 2009, it's been a win-win for both entrepreneurs and students', said DCI Director Ryan Rajkumarsingh. 'The project provides positive business value to small business owners, while being a learning experience for the students'.
DCI Business Adviser Charmaine Moss said the initiative gives students opportunities to apply their knowledge to solve real-world problems. 'The small businesses that have participated in the past also benefited from free and confidential access to DCI advisers and UCCI faculty', she noted.
Ms Moss also said that business owners who best demonstrate a core need in a specific area – for example, marketing, accounts, business management, etc. – will be those selected to participate. This will allow programme facilitators to better match the businesses with students in particular fields of study.
The selection criteria are:
- the owner's business must be established, not a start-up; although non-profits are considered, for-profits are given preference;
- the business must have a significant problem area that, when resolved, will result in an improvement to the business;
- the business owner must have a sincere interest in solving problems and improving business operations; and
- the owner must express a willingness to spend the necessary time and effort with the student team.
Business owners who are not selected, but who demonstrate short-term or limited needs, will be referred to other sources of assistance.
Ms Moss said she will visit business owners who are interested in applying to the programme, and assist them in completing the application forms. For more information, contact her on Charmaine.firstname.lastname@example.org or 244-2219.
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