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Allen & Overy and Deutsche Bank support 25 students to set up small businesses


Deutsche Bank and A&O have joined forces on a community project to mentor budding entrepreneurs from a London secondary school, Bethnal Green Academy, to set up their own small businesses.

Through Artbeat, A&O’s arts and enterprise scheme, 25 Business Studies students have taken part in a 12-week programme, led by a professional enterprise consultant and supported by A&O and Deutsche Bank volunteers.  The programme takes the students through the stages of setting up a small business: from market research and business planning, to pitching for finance and sales and marketing. It culminated in the students being given ‘pop-up’ market stalls in Spitalfields Market, next-door to Allen & Overy’s London office, to sell their products.

The students had a very successful day in the market, selling nearly £380 of their Artbeat merchandise.  

Kai Zhang, A&O trainee solicitor and Artbeat volunteer commented: “It was incredible to see the range of ideas these young people came up with, and the ambition they had to turn their ideas into potential businesses. My favourite product was the colourfully designed speaker. The students have shown exceptional ability to think outside the box and to turn what they have learned in a short space of time into a variety of creative yet profitable products. Volunteering to work with young people on these types of projects is a rewarding experience because you feel part of their team; you will learn and grow with the students, be inspired by their creativity and be motivated to make a positive impact on their lives and on your own.”

As a result of the project 76% of students felt inspired to be more creative and will look to set up a business in their spare time; 64% of students felt their entrepreneurial skills had improved and 81% felt more confident.

As one student commented: “Thanks for all the support. I love working with Allen & Overy and Deutsche Bank.  I will take this experience with me for all my life.  Thank you for all the volunteers who came to help us with the project.”

Bao Ph-Ham, Senior Counsel at Deutsche Bank, helped to set up the project with A&O. “Artbeat is an excellent initiative which links with Deutsche Bank's Born to Be youth engagement strategy. The programme attracted a great level of interest from members of the Legal Department with 10 employees sharing their skills with the students during the programme. All volunteers found it extremely inspirational, fun, and very rewarding.  We are delighted to have taken part in the programme this year and we look forward to working with Allen & Overy on Artbeat next year.”

Artbeat – developing skills in arts and enterprise

Artbeat is an arts and enterprise programme run in A&O’s London and New York offices.

In London, it is the cornerstone of Allen & Overy’s long-term partnership with Bethnal Green Academy in Tower Hamlets – recently rated as one of the most improved schools in the UK by Ofsted.

Artbeat brings together students and teachers with A&O volunteers, clients (such as Deutsche Bank), professional artists and the local community. It gives students the opportunity to work with professional artists and, through workshops and mentoring, create a range of artwork to display in our offices and their schools.

In 2013, A&O introduced an enterprise workshop to the Artbeat programme. Specifically focused on Business Studies students in Year 12, the enterprise workshops help students develop their creativity and entrepreneurial ideas. All students from Bethnal Green Academy who participated in the Artbeat Enterprise project in 2013 achieved the Triple Award in their Business Studies course, helping them gain entry to university.

William Moss, Director for Learning at Bethnal Green Academy, explains: “A&O’s Artbeat Enterprise project marked a sharp turning point in the attainment of all learners on the [Business Studies] course and in my opinion really opened their eyes to what the business world felt like, enabling them to access harder content, and, in turn, achieve more highly.”​




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