Thursday 12 April 2012

Partner feature: University of Queensland Business School

Founding Partner - UQ

The University of Queensland Business School is a founding partner of Buffed and having such a renowned academic institution so proactively involved has been instrumental to date and shaping to be even more valuable in the future.

Wise Foundation and UQ Business School connected through the Social Economic and Engagement Program (SEEP) in which MBA students within the UQ Business School are given the opportunity to work with community based organisations to provide an active learning environment.

MBA students worked closely with Wise Foundation Executive Director, Alex McDonald on initial market research and business plan development.  Students and staff were then actively involved in positioning the concept of a national network of shoe shine stands to corporate organisations to obtain financial support and strategic participation.

Beyond their valuable initial involvement through the launch phase of Buffed, UQ Business School has further cemented their partnership by committing dedicated research resources.  This important initiative will see UQ Business School staff work closely with Buffed to investigate the sustainability and success of the Buffed business model as a viable social franchise.

The research will contribute to assessing whether the social franchise model offers a commercially and socially viable solution for generating sustainable self-employment opportunities for individuals who have previously faced challenges in the labor market.

The methodology will incorporate a longitudinal action research model utilising mixed method approach, which combines qualitative and quantitative research methods.  Surveys, interviews, data analysis and participant observation will be used to determine consumer perception, behavior and engagement.

A large component of the research will focus on the ‘shared value return’ that is created to gain insights into the relationships between business outcomes and broader personal, economic, consumer and social impacts.

The vision is to deliver comprehensive six monthly rolling reports that will be made publicly available.  These reports will be designed to communicate a detailed insight to all those involved and interested in social business models and provide an overview to others who are looking to develop scalable commercial models that at their core look to create social impacts.