Commercial Awareness & CAKE…

Are you preparing to move into graduate employment and want to make sure you can stand our from the crowd? Do you like cake?

Commercial Awareness is increasingly cited by graduate employers as an essential competency when seeking new employees.  Commercial Awareness for Knowledge Exchange (CAKE) is a short workshop that will accelerate your understanding of how their businesses work and give you the insights to show how you can make a difference as their latest recruit.

By the end of this session you will:

  • Understand why Commercial Awareness is so important to graduate employers
  • Understand what a Business or Value Model is and how you can apply it to your job seeking activities
  • Have practised analysing the Business Model of a popular graduate employer or on-campus company
  • Have practised analysing the Business Model of an employer that you are interested in
  • Have enjoyed eating some cake.

The session will be led by Lyndsey Egerton, Student Opportunities & Skills Developer, from the University’s Careers service.  She will draw on the Business Model Canvas as a framework for designing, analysing and describing Business Models for organisations of all sizes, in all industries and sectors.  If you are preparing generally for employment, or have a particular employer you are hoping to impress, the insights gained in this session could help you to stand out from other candidates.

If you are not graduating this time but would like to attend to develop your Commercial Awareness, please register as normal.

When? Thursday 7th June, 1:30-3:30pm

Where? Bowland North Seminar Room 23

Book on Target Connect

Santander Awards Reminder

Just a few quick reminders for anyone looking to enter the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards 2018:

  • Deadline: 5pm Friday the 13th April

Please email your Business Model Canvas (completed using the Santander Template) and two minute video pitch (a good way to do this is to upload it as an ‘unlisted’ or password protected video on YouTube and send us the link) to Please note: If you submit by the 6th of April, we will provide you with feedback before the final deadline!

  • Review marking criteria

How the Buisness Model Canvas and video will be judged is detailed within the Awards Information Pack (page 5).

  • Looking for some help with your video?

ISS have a great online course which goes through the basics of video production and editing. Click here to access it.

Finally – if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in contact (please note, we will be out of the office 29th Mar – 5th Apr)

Commercial Awareness for Designers

Commercial Awareness for Knowledge Exchange Sessions

Gerasimos Balis, the Enterprise Team’s Design Facilitator recently collaborated with Bijan Aryana to deliver some commercial awareness workshops as part of Bijan’s Design and Business module for MA Design Management students. The sessions were successful and appeared to add great value to the student’s projects. Below is a bit more information on what was covered in the sessions and some of the feedback received.

Commercial Awareness for Designers

The first 3 hour session involved:

  • An introduction to Business models and tools to evaluate them
  • Reflection on the impact of design expertise on business

The second 3 hour session involved:

  • Design process models and roles designers play in a ventrue
  • Examples of best practice from design agencies
  • Workshop on articulating their own design process

Great feedback was received for both sessions from student’s who took part:

‘I like the activities which were really engaging, fun and new to me’

‘I like the interactive exercises and tools provided’

‘I like the groupwork elements because it helps our ideas flow and we get some really interesting inputs and ideas’

‘Good content, helped a lot towards our project and ensured we followed a plan to effectively accomplish the activities’

‘Loved the activities, really helpful’

‘The activity further strengthened the understanding of the design process and its adaptability’ 

‘wonderful experience’

These sessions are all part of the Enterprise Team’s wider aims to contribute to enhancing student’s commercial awareness by equipping them with some useful tools within the curriculum. This is a scheme we have named CAKE (Commercial Awareness for Knowledge Exchange). To find out more, please visit the dedicated CAKE webpage.


Using the Business Model Canvas to unpack placement employers

Workshop: 7th February, 1-3pm

Before you start your placement in a company you need to understand how it operates, this will help you to find the best way to leave your mark –and a good impression. In this session we will present examples of how you can achieve this using the Business Model Canvas.

Experimenting with this tool will allow you to explore and dig into all the elements of a organisation’s business model, creating new and deeper questions and insights which will enhance your commercial awareness, your ability to quickly get to grips with how different organisations tick, and get you thinking about how you might fit into, and create value for the organisation in your role.

The session will take place in the Learning Zone in Pod 4. To confirm your attendance, please sign-up on Target Connect.

Opportunity for freelancers and creative entrepreneurs

Thinking about becoming a creative freelancer?

UCLan Student Enterprise & Incubation invites Lancaster University students to join an interactive session aimed to help you map out how to earn a living from your creativity. The session will look at using the Business Model Canvas in lots of useful and fun ways, helping you to identify how to create, deliver and capture the value of your enterprise.

When? Thursday the 25th May, 9:30am-12:30pm

Where? 4th Floor Media Factory, Preston

If you are interested in attending the workshop please email The Lancaster University Enterprise Team and we can book you a place.




Santander Entrepreneurship Awards – Deadline Approaching!

Deadline: Noon, Monday 24th April

Hopefully many of you have been working hard on your Santander Entrepreneurship Awards Applications. This post is just a quick reminder with regards to what to submit, how to submit and the judging criteria. In addition, please could you let us know via email if you are planning to submit an entry and in which category, so that we have an idea of numbers before the actual deadline. 

To enter, you will need to produce both a two minute video pitch and a completed business model canvas (Download Template).

In your video the judges will be looking for:

  • A clear explanation of your business, its purpose and an understanding of the problem that it solves for customers.
  • An understanding of where your business or idea came from.
  • Evidence of how winning the competition would help you grow your business.

To find out more about the competition including the full process, eligibility requirements and prizes, take a look at the information page here.

A few tools to help you perfect your entry:

  • Simon Sinek – Starting with Why? may help you to better articulate the rationale behind your idea.
  • You can access the Business Model Generation: a handbook for visionaries, game changers, and challengers (Osterwalder & Pigneur, 2010) online through OneSearch.

Please email your completed canvases and videos to by noon, Monday the 24th of April. In your email please state which category you are entering in – Pre-revenue or Post-revenue. 

Santander Entrepreneurship Awards: Business Model Canvas Workshop

Tips for creating the most effective Business Model Canvas

The Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards are your chance to win up to £25,000 funding plus mentoring and a whole range of other startup support for your business or idea!

Round one submissions for the competition this year involves the completion of a Business Model Canvas. We will be hosting a workshop to help you explore the canvas and build the best possible submission!

The workshop will take place on Monday the 20th of February, 12:30-2pm in Management School Lecture 12. You can book you space now through Target Connect.

In the meantime, if your are unfamiliar with the Business Model Canvas, a copy of the Business Model Canvas can be downloaded from the Strategyzer website. The first 80 pages of the Business Model Generation book can also be downloaded here.

Lengthy Business Plans = Failure?

“True risk reduction comes from testing and iterating an idea”

In a new Strategyzer blog post, Alexander Osterwalder discusses why he thinks that lengthy business plans may increase the risk of failure, especially when it comes to innovation and new ventures. A much better approach in his opinion is to use Canvases and Lean Startup methods to test and iterate ideas – a long business plan may often deter people from doing so and ‘make pure fantasies look like a good and feasible idea.’

To read the full blog post visit the Strategyzer Blog.

Webinar: Alex Osterwalder & Steve Blank, 30th June

Business Model Design for Mission Driven Organisations: Thurs 30 June, 4pm

Does your organisation value impact over revenue?

Steve Blank, renowned thinker and father of the Lean Startup movement joins Strategyzer’s Alex Osterwalder on how to adapt the Business Model Canvas for mission driven organisations in a free webinar next week.

If you’re part of an organisation which takes pride in your social impact and values lives saved, or if you’re looking to pursue a career in this field, don’t miss your opportunity to hear from the leading thinkers in strategy, business and innovation.

In the session, Alex and Steve will discuss:

  • how to adapt the Business Model Canvas for use by mission driven organisations.
  • how to go from revenue streams to mission achievement
  • examples of using the Mission Model Canvas by government and other organisations.

Places will be limited so reserve your space asap, by clicking this link.

‘Treat a career like a business; create a business model for the career’.

Image from

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Business Model You – a one page model to design your career

If you’ve ever been to one of our Enterprise Drop ins you will know we like to tell students about  the Business Model Canvas. It’s a strategic thinking and design tool that helps you to shape and play with your initial idea through an iterative process to work out whether it has legs and could be viable.

One of the beauties of the Business Model Canvas is that it can be used in a number of different ways. Understanding the theory, application and being able to play and iterate with the tool visually enables you to work on:

  • An idea
  • A business model
  • Research a competitor
  • Research a potential employer

But it also potentially allows you to design your career too; so  I’m flagging up ‘Business Model You.’

It’s a book from the same basic model theory, but it focusses on career development. The notion is this:

‘Treat a career like a business, and create a business model for the career’.

The authors are in the process of a re-write, but the first ‘Business Model You book’ was targeted at people who were interested in career re-invention (Judging by the approach in the book and the case studies) but many-a-time I have looked at the material and thought the material has real value for students looking to design their career now. (You can download the first few pages here.)

It’s hard when you don’t know what to do but you have to start somewhere. This canvas is a useful tool to help you to start mapping out where you are now.

You could also  use it to get insights on different prospective jobs or careers.  You could map out an advertised job and see how you measure up against it.  You might use the insights to create a personal development plan to get that job….

There’s scope to could use the Business Model You Canvas to explore the careers of people on LinkedIn. Mapping those peoples’ Personal Business Model Canvas, experience and career paths would give insights about careers in sectors you might be interested in. It gives you a clear idea of type of skills development and personal learning journey you may want to start thinking about.

The designers of Business Model You also deliver a really important message too, about the changing nature of the work place and how in the future we are all going to have to be able to adapt to more flexible career paths and the business models of our employers and partners as work becomes more project based. The need to be able to respond by constantly re-inventing your personal business model to meet what an employer or customer needs is going to be vital. We posted about this here.

The call to action is; get into ‘business model thinking’ because it will be invaluable whatever you decide to do in the future. Register on our mailing list for updates over the next 12 months of new workshops.