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Adding value to social enterprise: Global Executive MBA students collaborate on Windgap Project

13 Jun 2014

When it comes to applying their academic knowledge to real world business situations, the Business School's Global Executive MBA students have had many great opportunities to add value to corporates. The most recent project saw students teaming up with the 'Windgap Foundation', a social enterprise dedicated to supporting people with intellectual disabilities.

Serhat Oguz, CEO of the Windgap Foundation said, "the disability workshop has 65 supported employees, and he thought it would be great to form a relationship with the University in  order to enhance the business and get some fresh ideas from students studying at a high level".

The University could also see the synergy in this partnership for their Global Executive MBA students. Associate Professor Leanne Cutcher, Work and Organisational Studies, said "the primary focus of the module was to teach the students the importance of management across functions and breaking down of silos. Working in the not for profit sector really brings that to life for the students".

To facilitate the students' collaboration with the Windgap Foundation, they took part in a number of workshops that highlighted the different stakeholders and services that Windgap are involved with. The idea was that the students were to deliver an integrated solution that assisted the company to develop a more sustainable business model.

Layla Eljerman, Australian Disability Enterprise Manager, sees the contribution of the Global Executive MBA students as invaluable. She says "it's great to get input from executive free thinking minds to help raise awareness and our commercial profile, and to demonstrate Windgap as a thriving business". She hopes to get the projects not just assisting Windgap's sustainability, but also the industry as well."

The students were divided into four teams each focused on developing the model in relation to one group of Windgap stakeholders.

  • Team 1: New Business opportunities around packaging and assembly
  • Team 2: Family/Carers of their clients, how to market to them and attract them
  • Team 3: Corporate and Government, marketing to the corporate sector and procuring new Government contracts
  • Team 4: Other Australian Disability Services and developing relationships with them

After workshopping in their teams, the students delivered their project solutions in a final presentation to Windgap's senior management team.

After hearing the solutions, Layla said "it filled her with hope and positivity for the future of the company knowing it was heading down the right path and there were new opportunities to be taken up".

Global Executive MBA student Shannon OBrien treasured the collaborative experience, saying, "it's phenomenal and unique, it about content and energy and learning from  your cohort".