ASBS graduates made community impact with Beyond the Finish Line

ASBS graduates made community impact with Beyond the Finish Line

Last year eleven students from the School’s MSc programmes had the opportunity to leave a lasting legacy of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games through Beyond The Finish Line, a project which helps young entrepreneurs start their own social enterprises with the aim of finding solutions to the widespread issue of high street and town centre decline.

Beyond The Finish Line, supported by the Big Lottery Fund, is coordinated jointly by Firstport, the go-to agency for social enterprise start-ups in Scotland, and Icecream Architecture (ICA), a community interest company that works between community and public agencies to deliver creative enterprising regeneration projects. The Beyond The Finish Line project aimed to use the momentum of the Commonwealth Games, and the imagination of Glasgow’s young people, to find social enterprise solutions that would rejuvenate our high streets and town centres through more than just retail outlets as a means of social and economic regeneration.

Beyond The Finish Line developed ten different social enterprises. These included fashion design, furniture upcycling, community cinema and confidence workshops.  The emphasis is placed on the belief that thriving high streets are about more than just retail outlets. Beyond The Finish Line aimed to make a real social impact and create footfall for other businesses while empowering young entrepreneurs to pursue enterprise opportunities. The success of the project has led to two Design Impact Awards, the Social Enterprise Scotland Award for 2014 and the Social Enterprise UK Award for 2014.

ASBS students involved with the project included: Ting Chen, Manasi Damle, Asa King, Rachel Lin, Lindsay Pope, Erth Rujeraprapa, Chen Wang, Pat Wichitakul, Xing XiaoQian, Sonia Shuai Yang and Fangyuan Zhu.

Asa King, who graduated from the MSc Management & Design Innovation programme in 2014, talks to Aspire about his experience of Beyond The Finish Line and his hopes for the future:

“Beyond The Finish Line was a fantastic opportunity for myself and others to obtain first-hand experience of working alongside people who have the vision and drive, but perhaps lack the business know-how, of starting up a project that would not only be rewarding to ourselves but would benefit the city and people of Glasgow. We brought individual skills, contacts and experiences, alongside different social enterprise ideas, to come up with inspiring initiatives that would tackle the social problems faced in local communities.

“Often people with great ideas don’t have the necessary business know-how to make their dreams a reality. Beyond The Finish Line taught me how to prepare a business plan and showed me how working with creatives complimented my skill set. It also gave me food for thought for starting up my own business.

“Beyond The Finish Line, and The University of Glasgow, gave me the inspiration to think seriously about my career and what path I would like to follow. I am now in the planning stage of starting my own Whiskey Distillery in America. During my time in Scotland I was able sample different whisky and it was here that I noticed that there was a niche market in America for good quality whisky that was made in the same country.  Small scale distilleries are only just appearing in America and I’m currently working alongside a distillery in Brooklyn researching, and experimenting with different recipes and flavours.

“Like Beyond The Finish Line, I want to give something back to the community where I live. I plan to donate food to those in need through my new business.  I have already secured two investors and due to the social initiative aspect of my business plan I am looking into research grants. It’s still early days but I’m hopeful that within five years I’ll be up and running and my whisky dream will be a reality.  None of this would have been possible had I not secured mentoring through Beyond The Finish Line and The University of Glasgow.”