Weeks One and Two
Enterprise by Design 2018 is in full swing as we come into week two; with bellies full of delicious homemade steak and mushroom pie and the anticipation of talks from this year’s partnering companies, Zip World and Rib Ride, the undergraduate students are ready to get truly stuck into the design brief.
If you’re not quite sure what Enterprise by Design is all about, look no further…
An 8-week annual event, Enterprise by Design is organised by Bangor University and Pontio Innovation in conjunction with a local business, although there are two this year, which brings students from four different disciplines, Business, Science, Arts, and Engineering, together to form teams and create innovative ideas that will help enhance the local economy.
The unique thing about Enterprise By Design is how it is made from the ground up to bring students from these different academic backgrounds into one space and encourages them to come up with real world ideas. The students get the chance to work together as most modern companies do every day, with a team of innovators with an array of strengths and talents.
Students are tasked with one take-away assignment each week, as well as the overall aim to create a larger business plan over the 8-week period, to then be judged by academics and the partnering businesses to determine which team has the most innovative idea. With roughly an hour’s help each week from post-graduate facilitators and academic staff, students must go it alone the rest of the time and use their specialist skills to develop this business plan. This plan could possibly be developed further and executed for one of the world’s booming outdoor tourism areas.
It all sounds rather ordinary for University, until the winning team is given £5,000 to put their pitch into action!
Focusing on adventure and outdoor activities, this year’s Enterprise by Design is tasked with bridging the gap between two adventure tourism companies. The undergraduate students have to think outside the box to come up with fresh and innovative ideas for what is now Lonely Planet’s 4th-best region in the world to visit.
Tourism in North Wales brings in about £2 billion annually to the local economy, and employs around 47,000 people, some of whom are Bangor graduates.
This cohort of students will have the chance to help grow the tourism industry in North Wales by coming up with a business plan benefitting both Zip World and Rib Ride; two companies that everyone in the area will have heard of, and that £5,000 is on the line.
No pressure, guys!
Presentations from Zip World and Rib Ride
First up was a talk by Nick from Zip World, the zip-line creators mainly based out of Bethesda, Gwynedd, that has Europe’s fastest zip line, as well as underground experiences such as Bounce Below and the Zip World Caverns; and the newest attraction, Fforest Coaster, the only Alpine Coaster of its kind in the UK!
Nick gave the students an overview of all the exciting experiences Zip World is striving to offer in the future year-round, to customers of all ages. A huge 73% increase in customers last year brings them to around 350,000 customers annually, Zip World is continually growing, with viral attention from popular platforms such as Unilad, Lad Bible and Viral Thread they’re trying hard to meet demand.
Working constantly on improving their attractions, such as with faster zip lines, an adventure hotel, and possibly expanding Zip World to places like the Lake District, or as far afield as China, Dubai, or even Australia, Zip World is hoping to attract around half a million customers per year by 2020. Students have their work cut out for them in bringing a new business plan to the table that will wow the companies!
Next, Sam from Rib Ride gave a presentation about their company and the historical tours around the isle of Anglesey, based out of Menai bridge and Holyhead. In Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs) that get up to high speeds zooming along the Menai Strait, customers get a unique view of North Wales from the water, getting a mixture of a fun-filled adrenaline rush from the fast, bumpy driving of a highly experienced skipper to an informative talk about the history of the area and the surrounding wildlife. A small business that began with just one small boat, Rib Ride has grown throughout the years, having developed popular tours with Bear Grylls and accumulated around 15,000 visitors a year. Though a smaller business than Zip World, Rib Ride is steadily growing their customer base as well, and are hopeful that the same sort of customers that want to experience the speed of Zip World, will also want to zoom over the waves of the Menai Strait.
Together, Rib Ride and Zip World want to create a cohesive adventure package that will attract a wide range of customers who will want to purchase a single package for an adventure holiday; and hopefully make these customers repeat visitors.
Tasks for weeks one and two
Students got a glimpse of the differences and similarities between these two adventure companies, and have so far come up with visitor personas of potential customers to the two companies, considering criteria they chose between themselves; for e.g., age, background, personality type, income, and location.
With students briefed on different aspects of these local thriving businesses, they were set with the task for week two: to complete a digital map of the assets of the local area (such as attractions, hotels, restaurants, museums, transport, etc.) and then identify what ‘gaps’ there are in the community which might impact the brief they’ve been given.
Armed with large poster boards and markers, the students created their own maps and researched the locations of assets in the area, and how far apart these were from one another in order to see where the needs were.
Though the groups’ overall plans are in the earliest stages, some solid ideas are beginning to flourish, and students are beginning to use their specific skillsets, such as graphics students using platforms like Adobe Illustrator to create the design of their digital maps.
The groups now have the rest of the week to get together, finish their maps, and continue working on their bigger presentation which is now just a little over a month away!
To see what the students came up with for this week’s challenge, and to find out more about Enterprise by Design in general, check back with us for next week’s post!