The Street Paper Projects
Two years ago, I was attracted to join FreshSight by the sight of yellow T-shirts worn by two chipper members of Management who were recruiting outside the library. Today, I am onto my second consulting stint. When I first joined FreshSight, all I knew was that it would be a big commitment and hopefully I would come out of it with transferable skills. Both were the case, though I also gained an understanding of social enterprise, an appreciation for consulting, and a trip to Germany with my teammates and friends. Most importantly, I was granted an opportunity to assist my client and, in turn, help to advance their cause.
In my first project as a consultant I worked for the International Network of Street Papers (INSP), and in my second I am working for one of those street papers, Big Issue North. Both clients seek to alleviate homelessness and, although the clients are connected, the projects are totally unique. For INSP, our team was tasked with assigning a monetary value to the network’s services to its members. For Big Issue North, we are tasked to develop a marketing strategy for the client’s new app. Both of these projects have allowed me and my teammates to develop unique skills, such as building an Excel calculator, creating a skeletal Theory of Change model, crafting a stratified marketing strategy and identifying audiences at an international level. These concepts, although wholly unfamiliar to me at the outset, are now in my toolset and ready to be utilized in professional settings.
FreshSight attracts high calibre students who don’t shy away from hard work but equally know how to enjoy themselves. My first team got to know each other over Indian food and plenty of wine, culminating in a FreshSight-wide end of term social at a restaurant near to campus. Oh, and did I mention the trip to Germany? In Hannover, we attended the annual INSP conference where we presented our findings, conducted additional research, and switched out wine for beer. My current team, though admittedly socially hindered by the pandemic, shared coffee over Zoom (pictured above) and are looking forward to getting to know each other better as the semester progresses.
By having both of my clients be social enterprises which tackle the issue of homelessness, I have been able to dive deep into the issue. The motivation to address homelessness is one commonly expressed among people in Edinburgh; the issue is present and visceral in our city. My experience with FreshSight has shown me that social enterprise can play a massive part in the solution. Street papers are a fantastic example, but just one of the many ways out there to enable and empower the economically marginalised. I am proud to be playing my role in that. It is not often that students are able to get such hands-on experience in consulting, while also lending our time and efforts to address a salient issue in public life and work towards common good.
-Ruth Levy (3rd Year, Law)