The University of Bristol has teamed up with Paperound to launch a digital marketplace where businesses can tap into its local student talent for support on ad-hoc digital projects.

Paperound has launched at a time where the Bristol digital sector is seeing a spike of growth in recovery following the pandemic. The city has seen £270m in investment into the digital sector, and across the South West there are now over 17,000 digital SMEs, employing 3% of the regional population.

Despite this, 66% of small business owners say they are spending time on activities that are not important, and more than half of founders look to improve their business by delegating more tasks (Source: Pulse Survey, The Alternative Board).

To answer this problem, Paperound is now providing University of Bristol Students (‘Taskers’ on the platform) that can be booked for as little as one hour to work on the company tasks founders don’t have time for. Businesses only pay for what they use, and only pay when the work is done.

Supporting students and SMEs alike

All Taskers on the Paperound platform are current students who are keen to build their experience. The Paperound team pre-vets the Taskers, selecting those that show initiative, relevant skills, and a desire to deliver value to small businesses.

For founders, Paperound gives them access to extra resource at the times they need it most, without needing to commit to a full-time hire. For students, it is a way to earn money and more importantly, build relevant experience towards a graduate degree. 

Jale Fox, Founder, Paperound comments, “As a student I was passionate about getting involved in and learning from small businesses. But without established networks or connections, I had no way of navigating how to pick up paid experience during my degree.

“In my post graduate career, I then witnessed small businesses trying to get a lot done with little budget and resources. They were trying desperately to prioritise work that actually grows the business, and could totally benefit from an extra pair of hands at those busy times.

“They both needed a quick, simple way to connect”.

The University has long taken an involved role in the Bristol digital sector as well as in entrepreneurship more generally. Rob Taffinder, Assistant Director of Careers Service adds, ​​“It’s my personal mission to help find as many pathways into full time employment inclusive to all students.

“To that end, we look for new ways to connect students with regional businesses to provide more meaningful work experience opportunities.

“The pandemic has made it harder for students to find opportunities more traditional form of work experience and we’ve been seeing a fundamental change from local businesses wanting to access students remotely for short term projects and tasks. Traditionally, we’ve not been able to facilitate such requests, however, our partnership with Paperound delivers this. It complements what we do and I see this benefiting the regional economy.“

Jake Fox, Founder of Paperound has made it his personal mission to produce new ways for opportunities to be opened up for both individuals and small businesses; and he’s starting in Bristol.

Paperound is another example of a business born out of the pandemic. As remote working has hit the mainstream across the UK and many businesses have adopted new ways of working, Paperound has taken the opportunity to provide a fully digital solution, where Taskers are booked, briefed and work delivered remotely.

Jake tells us,  “Bristol is one of those cities where ideas just flourish, there’s creativity in the air.

“The fact that the University was quick to join our mission and look at a fresh way of doing things is a great example of how this region is a pro-active community of forward thinkers. And the emerging talent in the region have just got a new way to connect with that.”