Spotlight on young entrepreneurs in our two counties

Students from all over South Worcestershire assembled on the stage at Malvern St James’ school at the end of April to chart their entrepreneurial journey participating in Young Enterprise’s Company Programme.

Young Enterprise is the United Kingdom’s largest business and enterprise education charity. Every year it helps 250,000 young people learn about business and the world of work in the classroom under the guidance of a network of 5,000 volunteers from 3,500 companies.

Its Company Programme is where students get together to form a company in a real-life business scenario. They choose and make a product and take it to market and it culminates in a competition where they are judged on their trade fair stands, a comprehensive business report and a presentation.

This year Young Enterprise companies included students from The King’s School, Bishop Perowne and further afield Droitwich Spa High School and Pershore High School.

The Malvern schools that also attended included hosts Malvern St James and The Chase.

Chairman of South Worcestershire Area Board Paul Moult said: “What a wonderful celebration of entrepreneurship, determination and hard work we witnessed first-hand. These young people are our future and it is very gratifying to know that the welfare of the UK’s economy is in their hands.

“As an additional curricular activity, the learning experience Young Enterprise helps to develop is not just about encouraging entrepreneurship. Team building, innovative thinking and problem solving for example are transferable skills that will be beneficial to employers in a range of corporate and even public sector organisations and essential to enable the UK to compete and hopefully excel in a competitive global economy.”

The five top companies chosen to represent South Worcestershire at the Herefordshire & Worcestershire presentation evening were Escalader,The King’s School, Bubbles & Co.,St. Mary’s Convent and Hindsight also representing The King’s School.

Vesuvius from The Chase, Malvern and What Knots from Pershore High School were also be invited to join them.

We were thrilled this year that The Chase’s Young Enterprise company, Vesuvius won the Postcode Anywhere Best Use of IT award. The company’s product range comprised beautiful rustic, traditionally crafted, plant holders.

We found judging the reports particularly difficult this year as nearly all the participating Young Enterprise companies had embraced social media technologies such as Facebook and Twitter as a means of communicating within their respective businesses. But what impressed us was the way that Vesuvius used Facebook as a means of “building the brand” by capturing Customer Generated Content which it captured through its website.

My long standing Young Enterprise associate Jenni Chuck, Link Teacher  at Malvern St. James, was awarded a Young Enterprise Gold Award for her outstandingly successful service to the charity for over a decade. It was a well-deserved award for Jenni, who has always gone the extra mile for her students. She retires from teaching this year and I am sure I can speak for the rest of the South Worcestershire Area Board and wish her a very happy retirement although I believe she’ll be embarking on a very exciting new project.

There was a range of other awards bestowed on the young achievers including Best Finance Directors awarded by Bishop Flemming which went to Tutti from Droitwich Spa High School.

The Next Stage of the Competition

Postcode Anywhere’s PR Manager Natalie Green came with me to the Young Enterprise  Herefordshire & Worcestershire Competition which was really exciting. I just knew that the event would inspire her and I wasn’t wrong.

In the first half of the competition schools participating included Aurora, North Bromsgrove School, Abarian, Lady Hawkins’ School, Hereford, Bubbles & Co, St Mary’s, Worcester, Escalader,  The King’s School, Worcester and i-A Games, The Royal National College for the Blind, Hereford.

After a brief interval the second half of the presentations took place. Schools taking part included Hindsight, The King’s School, Worcester, Limitless, Heathfield School, Wolverley, Around For Years, St Mary’s R.C. High School, Lugwardine, Hereford, Vesuvius, The Chase, Malvern and What Knots from Pershore High School.

Pershore High School and their Young Enterprise company What Knots won the Postcode Anywhere Best Use of IT Award and they also secured second place in the competition overall.

There were some amazingly strong companies and the judges’ deliberations went on for some time which meant that the event ran over its anticipated duration.

However, at last it was announced that Hindsight from The King’s School was chosen to represent Herefordshire & Worcestershire in the West Midlands final. Hindsight’s Students Cookery book really impressed judges and we are hoping to hear great things from them and let’s hope they get to the National final.

Hindsight’s Link Teacher Jean Vivian, who is also on the South Worcestershire Area Board, is fantastically committed to Young Enterprise and it is testament to her guidance and hard work that has no doubt helped Hindsight emerge into an award-winning company. The students were amazing, as they told the audience about their incredible journey which led them to victory.

We are looking forward to meeting up with Young Enterprise business advisors, Link Teachers, board members and our special guest Robin Walker MP at our premises on the 5th June. The event will present us with an opportunity to thank everyone for keeping the entrepreneurial spirit alive and kicking in Worcestershire and beyond!