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How leveraging university student talent can future-proof your organization

In the ever-evolving landscape of business, adaptability and innovation are paramount. In this digital age, where change is the only constant, organizations must find ways to stay ahead of the curve. One powerful solution gaining traction in Canada's small and mid-sized business sector is collaboration with university students to leverage fresh perspectives. This also provides organizations with access to emerging student talent from top universities, at no cost. There are some undeniable benefits of working with students to future-proof your organization.
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January 18, 2024
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In the ever-evolving landscape of business, adaptability and innovation are paramount. In this digital age, where change is the only constant, organizations must find ways to stay ahead of the curve. One powerful solution gaining traction in Canada's small and mid-sized business sector is collaboration with university students to leverage fresh perspectives. This also provides organizations with access to emerging student talent from top universities, at no cost. There are some undeniable benefits of working with students to future-proof your organization.

The importance of collaboration between businesses and students - Businesses and universities have traditionally operated in separate spheres, but times are changing. Collaboration between the two worlds is becoming increasingly essential. Why? Because it brings a myriad of benefits that can help propel a company toward growth and success with fresh insights, ideas and perspectives on business challenges. 

The growing trend of businesses leveraging students - The concept of businesses collaborating with students may seem unconventional, but it's a trend that's gaining momentum. The world of academia and industry are no longer isolated silos; they're interconnected in ways that can bring immense value to both parties like exploring new and innovative strategies with up to date trends.

Remote work opportunities - With the rise of remote work, geographical barriers have crumbled. Companies can now engage with students from across Canada, broadening their talent pool and expanding their perspectives.

Growth of student internships: According to recent data, the number of student internships in Canada has seen a steady increase of 8% annually over the last five years. This indicates a growing interest in leveraging the skills and fresh perspectives students bring to the table.

Increase in businesses partnering with universities: Over 70% of small and mid-sized businesses in Canada have reported partnering with universities for various projects. This shift reflects a realization that working with students can be a game-changer.

Success stories of companies collaborating with students by leveraging Riipen: One outstanding example of successful collaboration is the case of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). EASA partnered with Riipen to work with students from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) to improve safety promotion and boost product development. Antonio Gonzalez, Safety Promotion Officer - EASA said "Our biggest challenge lies in communication delivery. Through Riipen, we had access to students who offered a communication plan with concise, impactful messages across channels and mobile apps for drone users and potential buyers that bridged the gap in drone regulation and public awareness."

Why working wiith students propels a team towards growth

There is a significantly growing trend of businesses leveraging student talent to gain fresh insights and perspectives. Companies have short-term projects or temporary business needs that add on to the workload of current staff and onboarding students enables them to get their projects completed while students gain real-world experience from these projects. So, why are businesses becoming increasingly enthusiastic about collaborating with students? The answer lies in the multitude of benefits they bring to the table.

  • Fresh perspectives and innovative ideas: students offer a different lens through which to view challenges and opportunities. Their creativity and diversity of thought can spark innovative solutions that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.
  • Tech-savviness: In today's tech-driven world, students are often digital natives. Their familiarity with cutting-edge technologies can provide a competitive edge, especially in industries that rely on digital innovation.
  • Cost-Effective talent acquisition: Hiring students through platforms like Riipen is often cost-effective, making it an attractive option for smaller businesses with limited budgets.
  • Reduced labor costs: Students can take on tasks that might be time-consuming or resource-intensive for existing employees, allowing the core team to focus on high-impact work.
  • Potential for long-term hiring: Successful collaborations can lead to long-term hiring opportunities. Businesses can identify and nurture top talent from the student pool, creating a valuable talent pipeline.
  • Nurturing future leaders: Working with students offers the chance to mentor and shape future leaders, instilling company values and culture early on.
  • Fostering brand loyalty: Students who have positive internship experiences may become advocates for your brand, creating a ripple effect of loyalty and reputation enhancement, especially in the digital world.

Success stories from Riipen

A previous partnership that illustrates the power of collaboration is the case of Sarafino, an import and distribution food business. They engaged students in A/B testing to determine user preferences for their website. This collaboration resulted in insightful research, website improvements, and ultimately, higher conversions.

Another remarkable story is that of Magnify, an Information Communication Technology company based in Toronto. They leveraged students from the University of Ottawa, University of Toronto, and York University to enhance their AI component. The students' dedication and innovative thinking exceeded expectations and aligned perfectly with Magnify's mission and goals.

In conclusion, the collaboration between businesses and students is not just a trend; it's a strategic move that can future-proof your organization. The mutual benefits, fresh perspectives, and innovative ideas that students bring to the table make this partnership invaluable. By working together, small and mid-sized businesses in Canada can tap into emerging student talent, stay ahead of industry trends, and thrive in an ever-changing business landscape. So, embrace the future and unlock the potential of student collaboration to ensure your organization's success in the years to come.

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