13th March 2019

Students from the Business (Team Entrepreneurship) programme at Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU) travelled to London last week where they took part in an assessed business challenge project for social enterprise The Ramadan Tent Project (RTP).

RTP run the internationally acclaimed 'Open Iftar' event, which this year will be held in major cities around the UK. Iftar is the fast-breaking meal eaten by Muslims after sunset during the month of Ramadan.

Open Iftar is an inter/non faith, inter-cultural event which celebrates diversity and welcomes anyone from any background. The first event was held in London in 2013 and since then the initiative has spread to seven cites and four continents, welcoming over 60,000 guests who are invited to join together to share food, to chat, laugh and listen to a variety of speakers on a wide range of subjects.

The challenge given to students by RTP was to consider how it could develop sustainable income streams that will allow them to grow the Open Iftar initiative which is free to all who attend.

They had 24 hours to research resources, contact potential stakeholders and develop solutions, which were delivered as a professional presentation the following day.

Team Coaches Chris Jackson and Peter Tasi from BGU were on hand to monitor the process and progress. Chris was particularly pleased with how the students took to the task:

" I have to say that we were pretty impressed with the way our guys tackled a tough task, developing four potential sources of income as well as engaging with people in the local communities by simply going out and talking with them. They also saw a bigger picture and were able to engage wider support nationally, raising over £6,000 in pledges".

Peter Tasi added:

"This is what can be achieved by active team work. Of course is doesn't just end here as we now have to formally assess the students on their process and how they synthesise their activity to aspects of business theory which are core to their learning".

"Following their visible success with the task, they must now formalise and reflect on the process and individually present their learning experience back to us. It's not as straightforward as it seems."

On the day, results were presented back to RTP CEO Omar Salha who was visibly impressed:

"This is an amazing achievement and we're really grateful to have been able to engage with you in this way. Some of the impromptu visits that you have made in the short time that you were with us show us the size of the task before us."

In a short space of time, students found that they were able to engage with corporations such as Disney and Virgin. These are contacts who they will now be working with to explore the full extent of possible support for RTP.

Project Leader for the task was BGU student Daria Pipsenska:

"This was just an amazing opportunity and took us all way outside of our comfort zones! We were able to achieve good results while working under pressure as a team and we did things we'd never done before and couldn't hope to achieve sitting in a classroom."

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