Birmingham firm East End Foods is heeding the advice of a recent Birmingham City University graduate in order to further expand the business.

The family-run firm signed up 22-year-old Warren Smith, who was studying for a degree with Birmingham City Business School at the time, to undertake a piece of research on how the company can tap into markets as far-flung as China, Brazil and the States.

East End Foods currently supplies 80% of independent Asian retailers in the UK as well as big supermarkets such as Tesco. Despite having a turnover of £180 million, the company is looking to implement a 5-year growth strategy, incorporating recommendations from Smith’s dissertation.

Smith, who spent six months working with East End Foods, said: “Being a family firm, there is a close-knit senior management team who are constantly looking to innovate. I came in to act as a fresh pair of eyes to look at the business from an outsider’s viewpoint and offer ideas on how to start making inroads into new markets.

“Working closely with a company on a real-world challenge has been incredibly rewarding for me and is better than a purely academic and theoretical brief. The company gave me complete access to the decision makers, giving me fantastic insight into how they do business.”

The management team at East End Foods were so impressed by Warren’s work they have now committed to being a partner organisation to Birmingham City Business School’s new Master’s in Leadership and Organisational Performance, which will bring more students into the business.

Paul Deep, sales director at East End Foods, said: “Our business has grown significantly over the last 35 years, but there’s always a danger that we’ll take our eye off the ball. We worked with Birmingham City Business School because we wanted an honest, unbiased portrait of how the business is run.

“Warren’s findings were extremely encouraging and raised ideas that we hadn’t even considered - despite being in business for so long. We’re now working on a new expansion strategy and have allocated budget towards ongoing marketing activity.”

For more information on the MSc in Leadership and Organisational Performance please contact the Business Services Team at Birmingham City Business School on 0121 331 6550 or email at bcbsbusiness.services@bcu.ac.uk.

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