Students become social enterprise consultants to help Nepalese entrepreneurs

02 March 2018
business school, young entrepreneurs, Karma Collective, social enterprise, University of Auckland, Business, students, alumnae
The Novatech team of Nepalese entrepreneurs that were supported remotely by the Karma Collective student consultants.

Some of the Business School’s brightest students and alumnae have used their summer break to support young entrepreneurs in Nepal. The initiative has been facilitated by the Karma Collective, a New Zealand social enterprise offering high-performing University of Auckland Business School and Law School students the opportunity to become a Karma Consultant. The students are given the opportunity to solve real-world business problems for entrepreneurs in Nepal, Cambodia and Kyrgyzstan as well as social enterprises in New Zealand.

One of the student consultants, Nadya Fauzia is studying towards a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce from the Business School:

“The project brief was to assist a Nepalese start up, Novatech, in validating their business idea to provide a smart greenhouse farming system to tackle the problem of food insecurity within the country. As a team, we focussed on building their idea through the idea validation framework created by the Karma Collective team to see if there is a market for it.”

In total, twenty students from the business school delivered five Karma Collective projects over the summer break with an impressive variety of ideas. These included; ‘Light Up’ a safety gear manufacturer using LED battery powered safety vests to get around the lack of electricity that makes reflector vests ineffective. ‘Nawadurga Travels’ which does cultural and religion themed tours to remotely parts of Nepal for tourists. ‘8byte Creative Studio’ which is a B2B software startup and ‘Orange Ball’ which is entering the pest control market.

Five Deloitte staff and a University of Auckland MBA student coached the student consultants, helping provide the best quality advice to the entrepreneurs, whilst simultaneously developing the student consultants’ skills and employability.

“Our advice was to give NovaTech focus areas for them to tackle such as training for farmers and narrowing their customer segment as well as providing objective ways in which the team can move forward with confidence and progress into the prototype stage.”

Nadya, majoring in economics and marketing and is interested in future opportunities that combines her interests in social innovation, business strategy, and the law. She was part of a team of three working on their project including, Ardelia Zalfa and Imogen Swain. Ardelia is in her second year of a BCom with a double major in marketing and management hoping to pursue a career in digital marketing and advertising. Imogen is currently working in the banking/financial services sector having graduated with a Master of International Business and her long-term goal is to move into strategic and financial consulting.

“Our main goal was to inform them of their business development process. It was also the first time some of the team members had delivered solutions on a business case, making it a challenging but rewarding experience."

The Karma Collective was the brainchild of a University of Auckland alumna, Priya Singh, who graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Science. Priya was also involved with Velocity in 2010. Read more about Priya here: Social Entrepreneur Priya Singh.

Students can apply to be Karma Collective Consultants and find out more by visiting: www.kcollective.org