The phrase “Learning could be fun” tends to, most often, be just a phrase in Sri Lanka, where it is never truly practiced. You finish school, cram through your degree or professional qualification and finally put that icing on the cake ... the MBA.
However, the students following the Top up degree program offered by NEXT Campus, in affiliation with Teeside University (UK), brings an interesting twist to the entire curriculum by taking things up a notch.
For the first time, students will be tackling the corporate world first-hand by running a small scale business at the ‘Good Market’ using the knowledge obtained through the programme as a base.
One of the teams, namely ‘Tea Maniacs’ with their product ‘Cha’ will be introducing an array of fruit flavoured ice teas, and will also be hosting some tea tasting sessions. In addition to the tea products, social responsibility intact handmade cards will also be a part of the portfolio, the proceeds of which will be donated to a charity, focusing on the children of the tea plucking community of Sri Lanka.
The team is made up a bunch of dynamic, cross functional individuals and headed by Charaka Perera, a tea taster by profession, and nine others from marketing, finance, advertising and e-commerce backgrounds, all of who have brought useful insights to the business.
“It is an honor to lead a team like this filled with so many talented entrepreneurs,” says Charaka. He further notes: “From day one, we took this project as a technique of improving our skills. It’s really fun when you look at a business from a learning perspective. We are going to do the best we can, and enjoy ourselves at the Good Market. We hope that we will be able to attract a good number of people to visit us and have some of the best organic iced teas in town.”
Kumudu Abeyawardane, Executive Director of NEXT Campus adds: “We at a NEXT have always strived to bridge the gap between theory and practice. The ‘Good Market’ project is an effort to introduce the Teesside University Final Year Business Degree students to the realities of managing an organization. The project is also aimed at developing the entrepreneurial skills of the students. We specifically chose running a stall at Good Market as a means of tracking students’ performance in a highly regulated environment. We believe that all these skills will hold them in good stead in the future. Team ‘Cha’ has come out with a very innovative business proposition and we at NEXT are eagerly waiting to see them in action on 13th August!
“Learning and studying can be done by anyone who has perseverance and a habit of working hard, but it takes real passion and a spirit of entrepreneurship to actually go out there and practice what you read about in books,” says Ruwandi Perera, who mentored the group throughout the process. She further adds: “The ‘Tea Maniacs’ have proved that you don’t have to always be the student, but that you can go out there and try things first hand to create new knowledge which can then be shared with others.”
‘Cha’ will be available in the Nuga Tree Car Park at the Colombo Racecourse at the Good Market on the 13th of August. Do stop by for a tea tasting session which you don’t come across every day, or a glass of a soothing flavoured Iced Tea to beat the heat this August.