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UEA students give Zoological Society new business ideas

Norwich Business School students

Second-year Management Accounting students from the Norwich Business School at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have used their business planning skills to come up with new ideas for the Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA).

ZSEA, the charitable banner covering Banham Zoo and Africa Alive, worked with the 240 Norwich Business School students, offering trophies for the three best ideas for developing their business.

“It’s vitally important for students to put the theory they learn in the classroom into practice, and there’s no better way to do this than by working with a real business and creating ideas that could be implemented in real life,” said Susan Wheeler, lecturer in Accounting.

The best ideas were presented to ZSEA chief executive officer Martin Goymour, who presented trophies to the winners – and gave zoo passes to each of the students who participated. “The standard was extremely high and very professional,” he said. “As someone who’s been in the business for more than 50 years, it’s invigorating to hear new ideas from young people who are looking at issues with a fresh pair of eyes and we will be working on implementing many of them.”

The students were asked to examine budget, forecasting, potential additional income streams and the challenges of covering fixed costs, then suggest solutions. The proposals included producing an app for customers to guide and inform them as they moved around the zoo, enabled them to buy merchandise and tracked footfall to provide management information on the most and least popular attractions, and providing visitor accommodation in log cabins to attract more visitors and make the attractions less weather dependent.

The winning students were Joshua Knight, Almoataz Enfies and Timothy Charles. “Creating the business plan for the zoo was great fun,” said Joshua. “It was much more rewarding working on ideas for a real business than an imaginary one and has prepared us well for leaving university and getting jobs in the outside world.”