On Saturday Ed Nash and I went along to the Young Enterprise Spring Fair which was held at Worcester’s Cathedral Plaza shopping centre.
It was a lovely sunny day, although quite chilly. However, all the Young Enterprise Students braved the chilly air to set-up their stalls and put into practise six months of planning and product preparation.
A Great Venue
The Cathedral Plaza is a great venue for attracting footfall: it’s the main access area to the cathedral and day trippers visiting our wonderful City naturally want to take a peek at the imposing building. (Once it comes into view you can’t help but notice we also have a very splendid Pizza Express on the left which is also well worth a visit!)
Ed went along on Saturday, rather magnanimously, to support his Young Enterprise students from The Chase, trading as Nova, in his capacity as one of their business advisors. He was suffering from a terrible chest infection but anyone who knows him will realise that once he commits to doing something he gives it 100 per cent.
Nova showcased their latest idea – a new app for Smart phones that enables users to create their own virtual wardrobe of clothing items and “try them on”. It’s potentially a very promising sales and marketing tool for big clothing brands. I’m sure it’s something that Gok Wan would like to get hold of.
The Red Sparrows
Other highlights included a wonderful company from King’s School called Red-Sparrow that had a stunning “retro” style stand. The group were selling Worcestershire Sauce chutney, their own recipe, which they outsourced to a local food producer and branded as their own. The product also came with special recipe cards and “retro” aprons – very war-time chic.
There was a fabulous array of stands with something for everyone to buy including hand-made picture frames, plants, piggy banks, children’s activity books and many others too numerous to mention.
The Young Enterprise Spring Fayre event is the first leg of the competition where students are judged by a panel of experienced business leaders, including experts in the retail sector. The marks are then added to the second and third round results of the overall competition.
Participants will also be required to write a comprehensive business report and the top eight companies will then go through to the South Worcestershire Area Board presentation evening to be held on the 28th March 2012.
After 28th March, the winners of the other area board finals, including Wyre Forest, Herefordshire, Redditch & Bromsgrove, will be invited to the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Strategic Final on the 2nd May.
Saturday’s overall winning company was Avian from the King’s School (pictured above) which sold, as you might expect, bird food and bird boxes and other avian-related accessories. Avian also won the award for the Best Product.
The Best Presented Stall Award went to Sixth Sense from Pershore High School, who sold a range of fruit-flavoured lip balms. The Chase from Malvern’s company Nova (below) won an award for outstanding Customer Focus, Sales and Marketing for its high-tech smartphone fashion app. Well done Ed.
We had a great day and the students made the most of the opportunity to hone their skills and compete for the Plaza’s busy footfall.
The overall total of their combined takings was in excess of £1200. Of course the Young Enterprise mantra is “Learning by Doing” and that seemed to encapsulate the whole essence of Saturday’s event.
Everyone’s a Winner
Mr Paul Moult, Chairman of Young Enterprise South Worcestershire Area Board, said: “We all had a great day. To me, all the students are winners, as every stall looked really professional, displaying fantastic products that clearly enticed and attracted the many shoppers visiting the Plaza.
“Naturally as an organisation we feel passionately that Young Enterprise really gives its participants a great learning experience that will stay with them for years to come – as statistics prove.
“For example, research has indicated that in the 30+ age Young Enterprise group, alumni earn a third earn more than their peers. Also company programme alumni are twice as likely to start their own business as their peers. This is really good news for the economy and the overall future competitiveness of the UK.”