A North East-based initiative set up to champion ethical business practice has enlisted Northumbria University students to help recruit new members and raise its profile.

The North East Initiative on Business Ethics (NIBE) was established in 2013 by working professionals interested and involved in business ethics. It works through face-to-face meetings and seminars advising companies how to develop ethical practices and the benefits these can offer.

To help increase its supporter-base and raise awareness of its work, NIBE approached The Business Clinic at Northumbria, where students provide a free consultancy service to real clients.

Working as team Ignition Consulting, final year business and law students Henry Dodds, Lizzy Park, Kara McMahon and Fraser Robinson took on the brief from NIBE. They developed a strategy for NIBE through extensive market research with regional and national businesses and the London-based Institute of Business Ethics (IBE).  

The students said: “Providing a consultancy service for a real-life client is very different from more traditional theory-based learning, and this has made it an incredibly challenging and rewarding experience.  We recommended stronger partnerships with national organisations, a more focused digital marketing and social media strategy and targeting students and recent graduates.”

Kevan Carrick, Chairman of JK Property Consultants and NIBE Chair, said:

“We are challengers for good business ethics, and one of the best ways to promote this is by engaging with people early in their careers. As the only organisation of our type outside of London we have been promoting this message regionally. Our aim now is to gain a stronger presence nationally, and the work put in by the students will help us achieve this.”

Nigel Coates, Director of The Business Clinic, said:

“There is so much potential for NIBE to grow and to continue making a real impact, and it’s great that we can follow its success. The Business Clinic has the expertise to support consultancy work across a wide range of sectors.  Our aim is to achieve a win-win situation and it is satisfying to see the real impact we are having on both our clients and students.”

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