Business School Topics
The University of Western Australia Business School student Jennifer Payne was named the national ‘think' Merit Award winner after representing Western Australia and South Australia in the national finals of the CPA Big Break Project.
The nationwide competition required students to create a strategic business plan from scratch to improve The Big Issue, an independent magazine operating as a business enterprise to assist homeless people.
In the first round, students wrote a strategic analysis of the overall strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of The Big Issue and its initiates, such as the Women's Subscription Enterprise (WSE) and the Community Street Soccer Program.
After presenting her report and impressing the General Managers of the CPA South Australia division in Adelaide, Jennifer progressed to the next stage. ‘The national round required me to expand on my previous research conducted and create a strategic plan to expand the Women's Subscription Enterprise across Australia. Each strategy had to be financially viable and self-sustainable with supporting evidence and research stating the financial implications and managing costs, as well as strategies to prevent cannibalisation of existing Big Issue initiatives,' said Jennifer.
‘My ideas to expand the WSE, increase their subscriptions and decrease expenditure included selling The Big Issue magazine through academic aggregators (such as EBSCO, ProQuest, Elsevier and Informit), making sponsorship affordable for small firms, increasing advertising revenue, reselling back issues and promoting the initiative to women's groups, such as the Country Women's Association of Australia.'
Jennifer was successful in winning the national ‘think' Merit Award, recognising her high level of technical knowledge and analysis and depth of theoretical research.
‘I entered into the competition to challenge myself, have the opportunity to work on a real case study and have a chance to help improve an existing not-for-profit company, The Big Issue,' said Jennifer.
Creating a strategic business plan, however, had its own challenges. ‘The toughest part of the competition was finding supporting evidence on the financial implications of the aggregation strategy,' said Jennifer. ‘As the major international aggregators are private corporations, their company information is highly confidential. After weeks of interviewing UWA library staff and professors I was able to find the revenue distribution strategy of various aggregators.
‘I have learnt that if I give a project or business venture 200% of my effort, I can surprise myself with how far I can go and what I can achieve. Anything is possible if you keep the goal in sight.
‘The most enjoyable part of the competition was meeting like-minded students from other universities around Australia in Melbourne for the national competition. Even though the competition has ended, we are still in contact with each other and supportive of each other's personal business ventures.'
After graduating, Jennifer, who is studying a combined Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Commerce, hopes to move into the area of business and entrepreneurship. ‘I've stuck by my career goal to be a successful entrepreneur since the age of 13,' said Jennifer. ‘Since the competition I have learnt that the skills used to create a not-for-profit business strategy will be extremely useful for my own business ventures.'
Jennifer's academic sponsor for the CPA Big Break Project was Dr Vivian Forbes, who travelled with Jennifer to the national finals in Melbourne.
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UWA Business School
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UWA Business School
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