Supporting small business growth - Unisource in action

Unisource is a free digital hub that connects businesses seeking assistance with tasks with students looking for degree-relevant work experience.We launched Unisource in 2020, working in collaboration with the University of Surrey and organisations across the county. Since then, we’ve been busy building relationships with business owners to raise awareness of the service. We talked to Tom Fender, director at Dr Heff’s Remarkable Mints about his experiences of Unisource. Tom is director and shareholder of Dr Heff’s Remarkable Mints, which was founded by two entrepreneurial dentists in 2014. They created a mint (not the usual sugary type) that is an oral health supplement that reverses tooth decay and erosion. Supported by scientific research, the products are sold online to consumers, with plans to launch to dental practices and retail outlets.

What was your business need?

We have a great product proposition, but we didn’t have the contact details for our target audiences within the industry. We needed to conduct research, gather data, and build a database of dental hygienists, dental practices and independent pharmacy businesses. This is obviously quite time-consuming when you’re running a business as well. It’s not a task that’s a full-time job, but it was critical to the business as part of our growth strategy.

How did you find the students’ work?

We selected two students to complete the task of target audience research and they delivered on time and to an extremely high standard. We were so impressed that we went back a week later for further support and even re-appointed one of the students who had worked with us on the original project. The communication was constant, and we carried out quality checks along the way to make sure the brief was understood. I found that the students could search multiple sources and compile their findings very quickly, making this a great task to outsource. The quality of the work was outstanding – as good as I would have got from a full-time member of staff.

What was the Unisource hub like to use?

The whole platform is very easy to use and navigate. The booking system for adding posts and the bidding system was simple and quick. The response was also remarkably fast; I received bids in under an hour and they started work that day! It was seamless and fast; I was delighted to be able to give undergraduates the experience they crave, and the income they need.

Would you recommend Unisource?

Yes, Unisource is a compelling proposition and I’d have no hesitation in posting tasks in the future. There are many benefits of using Unisource and I recommend that other businesses trial it; it’s a perfect tool for small companies and busy business owners. If you’re running a business, often the tasks that build up can delay progress so one of the most important assets that any business can have today is being able to make quick decisions and act on them. I found the students to be tenacious and hardworking and I’m keen to maintain a relationship with them both. Today’s students are digital natives, brand savvy and bring a fresh perspective. I can see that tasks like creating credential documents, social media marketing, email campaigns, following up campaigns or customer service could be outsourced. Although, there aren’t many limitations! Unisource is a vital lifeline to work experience now many businesses are working remotely.

Unisource plans to roll-out across the UK in 2021. Businesses can easily and quickly register to join the Unisource community. If you have any questions, please email **

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