Master of Enterprise (MEnt) students and winners of the 2016 Venture Out student competition visited the PZ Cussons site at Agecroft in May as part of PZ Cussons ongoing commitment to supporting Manchester Enterprise Centre’s (MEC) entrepreneurial students and activities.
12 students and MEC lecturers Dr Kassandra A. Papadopoulou and Dr Robert Phillips, themselves both from a science and engineering background, were given a two hour tour of the site encompassing several facets of the business, including a chance to sample some of the latest fragrances produced at the site.
PZ Cussons sponsored the Innovation Challenge as part of the Venture Out competition in November 2016, where Neill Cragie, MD Europe stated, “Enterprise and innovation are critical. Most boards think it will be the single biggest driver of growth in the next ten years. For innovation to work, it has to be routed in a real consumer insight or challenge.”
PZ Cussons’ innovative site hosts marketing, R&D and production integrated in one location allowing for focused customer oriented products to be created quickly and with a highly efficient just-in-time production process. This includes their well-known personal hygiene products such as Original Source and Carex which were being produced at a rate of 2000 bottles per hour, to be shipped worldwide.This is of particular interest to MEC students who are attempting to create businesses, initially with little financial backing, where focusing on customer needs and keeping costs down are critical.
In the 2016 Venture Out competition, students from the MEnt course won 6 awards in total and won 1st place in three out of the five categories. MEnt student Philip Robinson, who also won 1st Prize in the Innovation Challenge sponsored by PZ Cussons, said, “The Venture Out student enterprise competition has allowed me to develop ideas (underpinned by the Shaping Ideas for the Market taught unit on the MEnt) and pitch to multinational corporation executives at an early stage in the course, testing both potential enterprise projects and intrapreneurial innovations.”
Salman Malik, winner of 1st place in the Business category, said: “The Venture Out competition was a great learning curve. I received immediate feedback from academic and industry experts allowing me to assess the feasibility of my idea and its commercial potential.”
The students found the visit to be highly valuable, asking a large number of questions during the tour and the networking lunch. PZ Cussons also reiterated their commitment to reaching out to the University to cultivate innovative graduates who are needed in the modern economy.