As my colleagues at Postcode Anywhere are enthusiastically debating the new series of BBC 1’s The Apprentice, I got to witness first-hand just how innovative and entrepreneurial students are in our two counties.
Last night I was invited to present our annual Best Use of Technology award at the Young Enterprise Herefordshire & Worcestershire area competition held at the home of Worcestershire County Council, County Hall.
The evening was a celebration of the culmination of eight months of blood, sweat and tears invested by the students with a great deal of support provided by dedicated Link Teachers and business advisors.
As the evening unfolded it was a testament to the thriving culture of encouraging the attitudes and skills for entrepreneurship in our two counties.
After a dazzling line up of companies performing their presentations which basically highlight the highs and lows of experiences throughout the eight months of running their respective businesses, the judges had the unenviable task of choosing a winner. The company considered to be the best among the ten competing then goes forward to represent Herefordshire and Worcestershire.
This year it is even more exciting as the Young Enterprise Company of the Year Presentation event is being held locally at the University of Worcester, which sets a precedent for us in the city and county.
Highlights from the 10 companies include pH6 from The Chase School who produced a children’s book aimed at 4-5 year olds about recycling called ‘Leo the Lion and the Rubbish Robot’.
Representing Wyre Forest District was Stourport High School and Young Enterprise company Shape who had produced a range of innovative jewellery made from recycled unusable bank notes.
From our neighbouring county students from Herefordshire College of Technology and Young Enterprise company Hands on Accessories performed a slick presentation in cool shades.
Although they were not one of the companies invited to present, we were delighted that our friends and neighbours from The Chantry received a commendation in the Sustainability award category. Little Big Enterprises and their products produced from vinyl and wooden offcuts were close to our heart as Postcode Anywhere’s Mike Cook and Laura White mentored the students in the company in the early stages of the programme before we moved to Diglis.
The Sustainability Awards were supported by Worcestershire County Council and presented by Rupert Brakspear. The council’s Sustainability Officer Rupert was impressed by the number of Young Enterprise companies that had included environmental themes either in their products or in their operational practices.
All the companies competing in both the Area Board and Herefordshire and Worcestershire competition levels are to be applauded as again the standard this year exceeded everyone’s expectations.
The company going through to represent our two counties at the next level, the West Midlands Company of the Year competition is WigWam, from the King’s School who ironically are our new neighbours.
WigWam had a number of ‘cash cow’ products including school tea towels and fleece scarves which enabled the company to produce its main product a range of high quality pewter jewellery.
Students from WagWam have monopolised the competition and have won a string of awards including the Postcode Anywhere Best Use of IT award at both area and county events. We wish them every success at the West Midlands final and needless to say we will be cheering them on!
The event was brilliantly and eloquently hosted by Ian Smith deputy chairman of Young Enterprise South Worcestershire. Ian, who is also a partner at accountancy firm Bishop Fleming Rabjohns, received a well-deserved Gold award from Young Enterprise for his outstanding contribution to the enterprise education charity.
Bringing his usual witty narrative to the Young Enterprise area board and county events in so many ways, Ian has contributed so much. He has been a pioneer in promoting Company Programme to prominent business leaders as a means of helping their employees to develop the prerequisite skills for management for example.
As a serial networker, Ian’s contacts and influence in business circles has helped Young Enterprise to heighten its profile as well as secure essential corporate support.
Other Prize winners & Award Supporters
Best Use of Technology Award – supported by Postcode Anywhere – WigWam, The King’s School
Entrepreneurship Award – Supported by Worcestershire Ambassadors – Shape, Stourport High School
John King Award – Supported by John King. Troubleshooter – WigWam
Sustainability Awards – Supported by Worcestershire County Council – Shape and From Bee to You, The King’s School. Companies highly commended were HashTag Reco, North Bromsgrove School, Prestige, Bishop Perowne C of E College and Little Big Enterprises, The Chantry School
Marketing Award – Supported by Thomas Vale, Shape
Best Company Report – Supported by Worcester Bosch Group, WigWam
Best Trade Stand – Supported by Westbridge Foods Limited, Hands on Accessories, Hereford Sixth Form College
Best Presentation – Supported by QinetiQ, Supernova, Malvern St. James
Best Company overall – Supported by Worcestershire County Council, Wig Wam