Wed, Feb 27 2013
Ten LeTourneau University business majors are preparing for a Spring Break outreach March 8-16 to the city of Preston, England that will include three free workshops to British business owners to encourage them to improve their businesses despite the current depressed economy there
The LETU students were invited at the request of Jason Greene, pastor of Heritage Church in Preston, where the students will participate in Sunday services and perform outreach activities throughout the week, including delivering leaflets about Easter events and Friday night church events, as well as encouraging people to attend the church the following Sunday which will be Mother’s Day in the United Kingdom.
The trip has dual purposes. It is first an outreach to the church and an encouragement to local businesses, and secondly, it provides hands-on experience for LETU business students to research, prepare and present information to small business owners to help them improve their businesses and also provides cultural enlightenment for the LETU students. Eight to 10 new and current business owners will attend the student-led sessions. The trip is led by Karen Jacobs of the LETU School of Business and Wayne Jacobs of the LETU School of Education.
“The economy there is very depressed, and the three sessions our students will present will help them effectively sustain their businesses by teaching them to refine their business plans and find better ways to reach their customers,” Jacobs said.
The three workshops are offered free of charge to the business network. The first workshop is titled, “Increasing Personal Productivity,” and is designed to help the business owners prioritize their small business responsibilities and make the most of their time.
The second workshop, “Creating a Competitive Advantage,” will teach strategies to identify a company’s competitive advantage, determine its strengths, weaknesses and goals, and devise strategies to set their companies apart from competition.
The third workshop, “Developing a Business Plan,” will explain the value and preparation of a business plan and how to put it together.
The students will meet as a consulting team with one of the businesses which has been struggling to stay afloat for the past six months, Jacobs said.
“While there, the LETU students will participate in a cultural exchange with business students from the community and a local college in England to allow business students from both sides of the ocean to meet and discuss how business is ‘done,’” Jacobs said.
The trip is part of the class curriculum for International Business class at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The students are providing their own funding for travel and expenses. The class is built on the study of international business in Europe, including a research paper on the economy, demographics, culture, etc., the writing of workshops, and the actual trip.
“London is an excursion that the students requested,” Jacobs said. “After studying the history, they are ready to see many of the landmarks in person. The city of Preston is the home of J.R.R. Tolkien, so that is one of the short hikes we will take while we are there.”
The trip opportunity came about because of a relationship with the pastor in Preston, England that Jacobs and her husband, Wayne, have. The Jacobs’ are trained marriage coaches with the VOW program in Longview.
“Our intention is for the students to see a country very differently than an average tourist,” she said. “This is much more a working mission trip than vacation. Some of the parts [of the city] are not the clean, pretty areas that we see in the brochures. We are reaching out to help and encourage people living in a very dark, very godless economy.
“Our daughter Kelsey is going and will meet with a team from Mobberly Baptist Church to do girls' missions while she is there,” she said. “Our one ‘fun day’ will be touring London. The rest of the time, the students will all be involved in education and ministry.”
Jacobs said her husband also teaches in LETU’s Master of Strategic Leadership program.