The Experience of Local Business | Acts Trust

Work with University Students on the Digital Challenges of Your Business

The Covid-19 pandemic has provided a catalyst for digital transformation, with many businesses forced to find alternative ways of delivering goods and services.  The imperative for businesses to adopt digital technology in order to compete, innovate and grow, has never been stronger.  In response to this, Lincoln International Business School is recruiting SMEs in Lincolnshire to work with students on the UoL4.0 Challenge to tackle the digital challenges in their businesses.

How Does it Work?

UoL4.0 Challenge pairs teams of Operations Management students with businesses to explore how the use of technology could lead to the development of new commercial ideas and new ways of interacting with customers and suppliers. The students identify how this could be addressed, with a focus on digital solutions, and will present ideas back to you.  There is a limited time commitment from the business, and all engagement with the students will be online.  From the business’s point of view, it provides a fresh perspective on the business, new ideas to consider, and the opportunity to work with the University and to support students.  Businesses will also have access to an advisor from the Business Lincolnshire Growth Hub to help implement solutions.

The Experience of Local Business-Acts Trust

In 2019, Acts Trust, a local non-profit organisation took part in UoL 4.0 Challenge. Acts Trust’s mission is to empower people to end poverty. They run a number of projects such as organising food banks, running youth programmes and cafe services.

At the time, Simon Hoare, Chief Executive Officer was planning to launch a community grocery in the city as a way of expanding their food bank service and to create a food hub where waste food could be stored ready for redistribution.

In need of ideas to support the project, Simon approached Lincoln International Business School and the UoL 4.0 Challenge Project.  The students were asked to respond to the challenge, “How can Acts Trust (AT) develop a safe logistics plan for the collection and redistribution of food from suppliers and to food champions?”

This what Simon had to say about the solutions proposed:



Besides looking for the solution to his challenge, it was important for Simon to empower the young students involved and help them to develop their employability skills, in line with the main values of Acts Trust. One of the outcomes of the project was the opportunity for one of the students, Bashkim Muca, to continue working with the Acts Trust on a voluntary basis. Bashkim was able to further support the organisation by producing data that could help the organisation to secure new partnerships.

This is what he had to say:



If you are an SME in the region and are interested in taking part in the next cohort, please get in touch with Liz Price ( or Herbert Mapfaira ( The project takes place throughout the year, running in two academic terms:

  • 1st term: October- December
  • 2nd term: February-May

This project is part-funded through European Regional Development Fund and eligibility criteria for participation may apply.

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