Dogs who meet at an Ipswich park “pawsed” and welcomed students from the University of Suffolk who looked at how a business is developing and expanding.
The Dogs Squad – an initiative which connects four and two-legged friends by way of volunteering and conservation – welcomed Suffolk Executive Masters Business Administration students for a Saturday fact finding mission to its base at the Bowling Green in Christchurch Park.
They spent time with two and four-legged Dogs Squad members and asked owner and director, Lisa Correll about the business which offers volunteering opportunities to adults with learning disabilities and those struggling with their mental health.
Lisa said: “Some of the questions really taxed me and made me think a lot about how to improve some aspects of the business, especially around social media and recording information around our members and how their mental and physical health has improved.
“I really enjoyed talking about The Dogs Squad, I am so proud of what I have achieved, it was quite nice to ‘show off’.
“The students asked lots of really good questions, I loved the experience.”
She added: “I used to walk my dog every day in Christchurch Park and used to peek over into The Old Upper Bowls Green which was becoming more and more of a dumping ground.
“I then had a bit of a eureka moment! I had always wanted to work with dogs so thought, why not give this a go.
“The main attraction with The Bowling Green is the conservation aspect as well as being a great place for dogs to run around.
“We have built bird, bat and bug houses, which our members love to get involved with. We have built agility equipment for the dogs and plan much more in the future.
“We have now become a viable business, making money to be able to put back into the business. Our next investment is to have the lawn re-seeded with grass seeds that will take the wear and tear of the dogs.”
Dr Fran Hyde, Senior Lecturer in Marketing at the University of Suffolk said the day had given students an insight into how an idea has grown into a successful business looking to expand.
“On the Marketing module of the Suffolk Executive MBA I always bring a 'live case study' into the module to ensure that students can experience problem solving, idea generation and team working for a real-life local organisation in Suffolk.
“We really enjoyed our morning at the Dogs Squad and then went back to the Waterfront Campus to work on some ideas and areas Lisa had highlighted.
“We thought about how the business is moving forward and hope to continue several smaller projects with The Dogs Squad.
“Lisa’s story is an inspiring local Suffolk story but with national potential proving what can be achieved from an idea and a lot of hard work.
“If any other community Interest or Not for Profit organisations based in Ipswich would be interested in becoming a case study for the Suffolk Executive MBA we would be pleased to hear from you.”
University of Suffolk Press Office