Business students promote open data usage

Four Business School students at Newcastle University and three School of Management students at Xiamen University (China) got together with the mission to raise awareness of open data and its importance to local councils and new businesses. The students worked on a three weeks’ internship at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) which took place between 27th July and 14th August. In that period, they developed a marketing strategy whose aim is to increase the use of open data in the North East.

Open data can serve as a channel between residents and a council through which citizens can report problems,and see what the council is currently improving. Open data could also be useful to start-up businesses as it provides them with new information and enables them to get a clearer idea of the market.

James Barber, a Newcastle University student who was part of the team, explains: “Open data has so much potential and until all data is 100% open, then the full benefits will not be felt by society. Open data can increase efficiency of local councils, which should create cost savings, allowing resources to be spent in other areas of local government such as schools and hospitals.”

James likes the fact he could make a real impact on change as the project was mainly focused on working with local councils and businesses. The internship also helped him develop his communication, organisational, research and presentational skills while also making new friends.

James Addy, Newcastle University Economics student, who was also part of the team, said: “The internship has been a great experience. I have learned a lot of important information about open data and we met many business people who taught us valuable skills.

“My favourite thing about the internship was getting to know all of the other interns and getting to show the international students around the city and introduce them to British culture.”

Yawen Guo, a Xiamen University student, said: “The FSB internship was a fantastic opportunity for me to gain some international experience because this was my first time abroad. Working with so many talented people helped me improve my interpersonal and business skills.”

“After doing some research, I found that open data is quite useful, but people in China are not familiar with this concept, so I think this internship gave me lots of experience in this growing area,” Guo added.

The students visited Emmaus North East – a charity based in Gateshead which helps people who have experienced social exclusion and homelessness. James Barber is going to work further with them in order to increase social media presence of the charity and its interaction with Newcastle University students.

“The level of professionalism…was world class”

Simon Hanson, Project Supervisor and Development Manager at FSB North East, said:  “We were delighted to work in partnership with Newcastle University Business School on our open data project and cannot praise the team highly enough.

“The level of professionalism and quality of support given by the international team of students in starting, supporting and completing our open data project was world class,” Hanson said.

“The report that was produced has set the foundation shaping our campaign to help the North East lead the way in how we use open data. Inevitably, this campaign will help continue the recovery of the regional economy and help us grow digital capability across the North East.”

The internship at FSB is part of Newcastle University Business School’s Global Experience Opportunity (GEO) programme, which encourages students to gain valuable experience, which will improve their future employability.

Newcastle University Business School is in the top 1% of the world’s best business schools.

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