Student expertise boosts Not for Profit organisations recycling business01 June 2012

MBA students from UQ Business School are helping a disability organisation to boost its income by finding opportunities to expand its electronic waste recycling business.

Endeavour Foundation is one of the largest non-government disability service providers in Australia, providing support to more than 3,350 people from 230 locations in Queensland and New South Wales. Endeavour Foundation manages recycling facilities on behalf of local authorities, an activity which allows it to provide supported employment for people with disabilities and generate profit to fund its other disability services.

Endeavour Foundation participates regularly in UQ Business School’s corporate education programme, a relationship which benefits both sides. In the latest project, 11 MBA students have been working with Endeavour to review its electronic recycling business, which includes ‘end of life’ computers and televisions and find opportunities for growth. Two students Ehsan Nourbakhsh and Raj Aturaliya have subsequently decided to continue working with Endeavour on a pro bono basis providing consultancy on future expansion projects.

John Steen, Senior Lecturer at UQ Business School, said: “Endeavour Foundation doesn’t have money to spend on consultants so this was a chance to get an independent viewpoint. It has opened up some great opportunities for new business lines, particularly in extracting the more valuable components of electronic waste. “It has also provided a chance for students to use the analytical toolbox from the MBA course to tackle a real strategy project. It has been an excellent exercise in integrated thinking to make recommendations for growing the business. Endeavour is very involved in our corporate education program and is a great partner for UQ Business School.

Andrew Done, General Manager of Commercial Operations at Endeavour Foundation said: “The students’ level of enthusiasm contributed to the success of the project. The site visit to our recycling facility at Redcliffe provided an insight into the tremendous work undertaken by our employees with a disability.

“I sense this visit encouraged them to work a little harder on their final presentations which were of the highest standard. I hope to continue the relationship with UQ Business School in the future. The quality of work produced by the MBA students has been extremely beneficial in terms of our business planning process with contributes enormously to Endeavour Foundations ability to support people with a disability.”

UQ Business School MBA student Ehsan Nourbakhsh added: “Endeavour Foundation operates in a dynamic business environment with a great culture and management team, which Raj and I enjoyed tremendously. By utilizing our MBA analytical toolkit we were able to identify opportunities for Endeavour to create value through their business activities, particularly in the e-recycling business. Endeavour Foundation’s vision very much places the people they help at the centre of all their activities.”

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