MBA students from Kent Business School have developed a social enterprise designed to provide a support and signposting service to small and start-up businesses affected by Covid-19; known as Ear for Business. Debbie Kemp explains more
Ear for Business was created by a group of MBA students from Kent Business School in the UK, as a website to highlight the crucial information required for small businesses and start-ups during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The project’s aim is not to advise, but to listen to the concerns and problems currently affecting business leaders and to tackle the social isolation (particularly in rural areas) experienced by small businesses.
The organisation’s objective is to provide a listening ear service offering online and offline support for owners of small and rural businesses. It aims to reduce isolation while both encouraging and invigorating business resilience.
Practically, the website will signpost businesses to resources that are available but may still be largely unknown. This includes links to situational loans and overdrafts available to businesses, useful links for networks of support and advice for small businesses, and links for contacting the government for further support.
It also features services from Kent Business School itself, including mentoring from accountants, coaching workshops, and a means of contacting volunteers at Ear for Business to provide support and listen to the concerns of the individual.
Ear for Business’ message is ‘you are not alone’.
Initially started as a website of inter-business support, the project now aims to use contacts and Kent Business School’s alumni groups to develop a global and culturally diverse support group for business leaders of all sizes and sectors.
Ear for Business co-creator and Kent MBA student Gary Walters explains: ‘We felt that the well-being of those people running businesses is largely unconsidered, not least by themselves. The global pandemic has heightened this issue as business owners of all sectors are suffering totally new problems, usually without easy and ready access to the many different types of support they might need.
‘Ear for Business was set up primarily to aid those business people looking for the crucial help to which they are entitled, but it has already become more, as a service for sharing experiences and networking through these hard times. Sometimes just sharing a problem can give you the best start to finding solutions.’
Ear for Business embodies the Business School’s civic mission to work as a community to embrace positive change with a willingness to do and see things differently.
These Kent MBA students are well placed to support the Business community, with their wealth of experience, motivation and commitment to responsible management. I am really impressed with the work they are doing and encourage everyone to get involved.’
Debbie Kemp is MBA Director at Kent Business School.