Raising aspirations for business studies

Enhancing the school curriculum, networking, exploring business topics, supporting interest and raising aspirations for business studies are just some reasons for creating a business conference for secondary schools and this spring I was lucky enough to be part of one of the most inspiring events held by Futures and Plymouth Business School. In this year’s outstandingly successful business conference Dr Hilary Duckett, the director of Plymouth Business School, talked about the latest developments in leadership studies and took us a journey through over two centuries of leadership. She also talked about the Farm Shop Project in Kenya that aims to develop a sustainable farming network and support entrepreneurship with the ultimate goal of helping around 100,000 farming households out of poverty in Kenya’s Kiambu County and adjacent areas. The project is funded by Comic Relief and overseen by Plymouth University and Duchy College.

Alison Theaker from The Spark delivered a workshop about effective communication through which pupils developed various tools for improving their communication skills. The highlight of the day was when alumni and Managing Director of OhSoChimp, Jon Catney inspired us all and triggered lively discussion and intriguing questions with a talk on how to run and expand a business and overcome business obstacles that all entrepreneurs encounter at some point in their entrepreneurial journey.

The afternoon was buzzing with excitement and energy due to Dr Panagiotis Tziogkidis’s workshop about economics and market functions. The activity involved pupils in fictional trading, selling, reporting, negotiating and budgeting. Pupils were offered an insight into the economics of the world as well as into individual countries showing the complexity and implications of economic decisions in the world of business.

During the day pupils had a chance to learn about various business degrees, network with student ambassadors, learn about a placement year and university life in general.

In the Words of Debrah Harris from Lipson Co-Operative Academy  thank you all for the brilliant day we had at the University last week, my students enjoyed spending the day with you and the speakers; they took a lot away with them. It was both interesting and informative giving them a lot to think and talk about.


Conserving Cultural Heritage: The Resilience of Forcibly Displaced Syrian Artisans in Jordan


The first meeting for a two year Global Challenges Research Fund project administered jointly by the ESRC and AHRC research project on Conserving Cultural Heritage: The resilience of forcibly displaced Syrian artisans in Jordan (grant reference number ES/P004792/1 took place on the 24th of January in Amman, Jordan. Led by Dr. Haya Al-Dajani of the Futures Entrepreneurship Centre, the co-investigators from the University of Plymouth are Dr Marta Hawkins and Professor Geoff Wilson. The Jordanian Project Partners are Dr Aida Essaid from the King Hussein Foundation Information and Research Center (IRC) and Widad Kawar from TIRAZ: the Widad Kawar Home for Arab Dress in Jordan.


The Widad Kawar Home for Arab Dress in Jordan.

The project will explore the entrepreneurial journeys and aspirations of male Syrian refugee artisans that have been in Jordan for over five years, to answer questions such as:mWhat opportunities are they making for themselves? How they use their artisan skills entrepreneurial? In what ways are they being entrepreneurial?  How does their artisan enterprising impact their resilience?

An energetic and engaging stakeholder event led by Dr. Haya Al-Dajani on the 25th of January also in Amman, produced great insights into the traditional Syrian artisan sector. A shrinking number of both Jordanian and Syrian craftspeople use their decades of experience to make exquisitely detailed mother of pearl mosaics, woodcarvings and embroidery.


The King Hussein Foundation Information and Research Center (IRCKHF) serves as a catalyst for socio-economic transformation through research, information and dissemination of knowledge. The IRCKHF promotes the welfare of children, youth, women, families, communities, and vulnerable groups by providing multidisciplinary research and analysis to practitioners and policymakers in Jordan and the Middle East region. Through cooperation with national and international partners and the creation of an online platform for knowledge sharing, the IRCKHF advocates for positive change by disseminating research findings on critical issues falling under the pillars of social cohesion, equality and justice, and civil society empowerment.  The IRCKHF provides access to information using quality research, education and awareness, and advocacy.

TIRAZ: the Widad Kawar Home for Arab Dress, is home to the most complete collection of Palestinian, Jordanian and other Arab costumes from the 19th and 20th centuries with over 2000 costumes and weavings. TIRAZ is a Jordanian institution which aims to preserve the unique Widad Kawar collection, and promote the vibrant Palestinian and Jordanian cultural heritage and Arab living traditions.


The UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) promotes and supports high-quality independent research, which has an impact on business, the public sector and civil society, and related postgraduate training on social and economic issues. It is the UK’s largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues.


The UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) promotes and supports high-quality independent research and postgraduate training that has an impact on emerging arts and humanities disciplines, as well as vulnerable ones. It is the UK’s largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues.


Thank you for reading this blog. If you would like to know more about this project please contact haya.al-dajani@plymouth.ac.uk


FoB Students Get to Grips with Social Enterprise

This free workshop will introduce the concept of social enterprise. Within the workshop the differences between social enterprises, mainstream businesses and charities will be highlighted. Learn about social enterprises across our region and beyond as well as discuss the challenges that Social Enterprises face despite research that suggests that social enterprises are more resilient than their ‘standard’ private sector counterparts.
Outcomes: Develop your understanding of Social Enterprise. Understand the benefits and drawbacks of being a social enterprise, charity or mainstream business.

Open to Faculty of Business students and if spaces are still available, students from all faculties.

This workshop is facilitated by Futures EntrepreneurshipCentre’s BETA Enterprise programme at Plymouth University.





Tue 28 March 2017

16:00 – 18:00 BST

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Mast House, room 108

24 Sutton Road



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Jodine Boothby – My Gummee Story and how to market yourself!

*Guest feature from Igniting Enterprise (Plymouth University’s student lead entrepreneurship society)

Hello everybody!

We at Igniting Enterprise are incredibly happy to announce our next event in our series of guest talks (in collaboration with both the Plymouth Business and Marketing Societies), this time with inventor and Managing Director of Gummee Ltd Jodine Boothby, at 5pm-6pm on the 22nd of March in Babbage room 213!

Jodine is the incredibly creative, hard-working and passionate inventor of the worlds first baby teething mitten the Gummee Glove, which in the space of about 5 years she has turned from a eureka moment watching her son chewing on a sock to easy his teething pain as a baby, to a business with an annual turnover of over £200,000, with products currently being sold at retailers such as Toys R Us and Argos!

Jodine will be coming down to the University to discuss her story in setting up Gummee Ltd, from having to sell her jewellery in order to raise funds for an initial run of her products, to successfully launching at a trade show in Birmingham, and much more, whilst also giving her tips on how to successfully market yourself as a future employee and entrepreneur!

This event is definitely not one to miss, so make sure to show your interest via Eventbrite, or through the Igniting Enterprise, Business Society or Marketing Society social media pages, in order not to miss out!




Wed, March 22, 2017

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM GMT

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Babbage Building Room 213

24 James Street



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Evolution of Inspiration: TEDx Plymouth University 2017

Hi my name is Amber Strong and as Student Entrepreneurship Assistant at Plymouth university’s Futures Entrepreneurship Centre I was privileged to be a member of the TEDx Plymouth University planning committee.

This Evolution of Inspiration themed event saw thirteen speakers selected from over seventy applicants to bring their chosen topics to the stage. Fascinating talks on; being a Futurist, how the oceans connects us, evolution of the undead, equality, robotics, poetry, prejudice and changing the world, made for a night full of inspiration and insight. With coaching beforehand by Entrepreneur in Residence Raphael Dennett, each speaker rose to, surpassed the challenge set, and delivered riveting talks.

Looking back, I am so excited to have been a part of TEDx Plymouth University 2017. One aspect I was particularly impressed with was how our main organisers had arranged the order of the speakers. The order of speakers allowed the audience to go on a journey of understanding, inspiration, and memory. Inspired by Alex Cook’s opening talk on ‘I am a Futurist’; to name but a few of the brilliant speakers. The audience breathe in Ismini Vasileiou’s personal journey challenging stereotypes as a Greek woman with a love of IT; have their minds spun by Antonio Rago’s talk on Particle Physics with the help of great analogies. Then, in the second half, the audience wash in the emotions poetry can bring as Tracy Guirey shares her journey of reaching out to her mother with dementia.

The final speaker, Scott Gould humorously shares why he can no longer watch TED talks due to being over inspired. After a journey through inspiration, the audience relax in their seats. The last round of thunderous applause rolls in and we are back in a lecture theatre at Plymouth University. Moved, inspired, an appreciation for life deepened through the experiences shared. Our feet firmly on the ground.