In August 2020, IBSS sponsored 16 students to attend a Green Light-Year research project titled “China Eco-Apprenticeship Programme-CEAP: Cloud Survey Report - A Study on the Awareness and Readiness of Suzhou Unicorn and Gazelle Companies to Participate in United Nations Procurement”. During this programme our students received expert training in soft skills and on the United Nations Procurement Division, an agency that supplies the UN with what it needs to engage in its peacekeeping, humanitarian emergency relief and global development efforts across the world. As of today, approximately 35% of goods purchased by the UN are made in China, but less than 1% of these are supplied directly to the UN.
Upon completion of their training, our students went on to cold call and survey 305 Unicorn and Gazelle class companies in Suzhou, with these companies in emerging industries such as biomedicine, medical devices, new energy and novel materials. Through their research, they found that while there is great potential for a large number of companies in Suzhou to become first and second tier United Nations Procurement Division (UNPD) suppliers, only a small percentage (7%) of those companies surveyed understood the UN Procurement System and what would be required to become a UNPD supplier. Successful registration into the UN system would mean a significant economic impact for both these companies and Suzhou as a whole, and 50% of companies surveyed showed a high interest in UN procurement training. Among the many insights from this research project, our students also found that local companies interested in the UN Procurement System saw the system as a way to enhance their international reputation.
The project finished with a press conference hosted by Green Light-Year and 6 of our students, which went into detail on their findings and recommendations on ensuring more local companies register with the UNPD.
Yujing Sun, a year 4 student majoring in Economics at IBSS, shared her feelings about participating in this event, “I think what benefit me most is to learn to view problems from different angles. In this survey, we need to investigate companies from the perspective of students. Also, we need to take enterprises and governments’ requirements into consideration, thereby finding what suggestions are appropriate. The media also plays an important role in our survey. We tried to understand what titles and events are media’s preference. Then, we hope to use media to widely spread our survey findings. In such case, more companies and local governments will pay attention to the subject of United Nations procurement. In short, diversified thinking is my biggest gain during this event.”
Zi Yang, a year 3 student majoring in Information Management and Information Systems, said: "In addition to having a more detailed understanding of the status of Unicorn and Gazelle Companies in Suzhou, Mr Ni Huan also invited many people from different fields and industries to share their own working experiences. These ten lectures cover a variety of different content, including climate change, presentation skills, career planning, etc. It help me gain a lot of insights, which aroused me a lot of thinking about my future planning. In particular, Mr Li Yan’s sharing of working within and outside the system allowed me to think about career planning with maturity, which benefited me a lot.”
Mochu Li, a year 3 student majoring in Economics and Finance, commented, "I have benefited a lot from participating in this activity, especially for my thinking mode. Now I tend to view problems from different dimensions according to actual situation. Also, I learned how to apply theory into practice.”
This is the second sponsored student project IBSS has completed with Chinese sustainability NGO and IBSS partner Green Light-Year. Not only have both projects left a highly positive and lasting impression on our students, both in terms of their new perspectives and skill sets, but Green Light-Year CEO Helen Ni has consistently commented on the quality and enthusiasm IBSS students bring to her programmes.
Special thanks to our star IBSS students：
BSc Economics and Finance Mochu Li
BSc Economics Yujing Sun
BA Accounting Yuqian Yang
BSc Information Management and Information System Zi Yang
BA International Business with a Language Xirui Wang
BA Accounting Wenxuan Kang