Budding entrepreneurs showcase their talents at Suffolk Young Enterprise finals event
- Credit: Archant
The Focus School from Stoke-by-Nayland has claimed top honours in the 2017 Suffolk Young Enterprise competition.
Students from schools and colleges across the county have been taking part in the annual contest, which involves teams running their own mini-business to develop a product or service and market it in a “real world” environment.
Eight teams made it through to the final stage of the competition, which involved them pitching their businesses to a panel of judges via a company report (including a profit and loss account and a balance sheet), a trade stand and a formal PowerPoint-style presentation.
The Nine Wicks team from the Focus School, which produced a range of products including decorative candles, was named overall winner and also picked up two of the three main category awards, for Best Trade Stand and Best PowerPoint Presentation.
As overall winner, Nine Wicks also receives a free stand at this year’s Suffolk Show and the team also picked up four specific criteria awards, for Company Administration, Financial Systems and Results, Product Development and Skills and Understanding.
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Quality Sweets from Stradbroke High School, which sold themed sweets in recycled jars, was overall runner-up and also won the specific criteria award for Social Innovation.
And the Calx team from Thomas Mills High School, Framlingham, which produced chalk boards and place mats, won the main award for Best Company Report and the specific criteria award for Communications.
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The other finalists included two teams from East Bergholt High School, Clear and Light, plus Blueprint from Alde Valley Academy, Leiston, Fresh from Bungay Academy and Kangaroo Pouches from Woodbridge School,
University of Suffolk – Waterfront Building, Ipswich
The final took place at the University of Suffolk’s Waterfront Building in Ipswich with the panel of judges being chaired, in a non-voting capacity, by Eddy Alcock, chairman of the Suffolk Young Enterprise Board.
Judges responsible making the decisions this year included Nicola Corbett, EDF Energy’s Sizewell C communications officer and Suffolk Young Enterprise board member, Jonathan Legh-Smith, head of partnerships and strategic research at BT Martlesham Heath, Martin Feaviour, management accountant at Associated British Ports, Dr Daba Chowdhury, senior lecturer in entrepreneurship and marketing at the University of Suffolk and Chris Sagar, beer and spirits marketing manager at Adnams.
The process first involved the judges interviewing the teams at their trade stands, aiming to establish the knowledge and general business principles the students had learned as well as assessing the value of the trade stands in promoting the product or service involved.
There was then an opportunity for parents, friends and colleagues to view the trade stands before taking their seats for the PowerPoint presentations, prefaced by a welcome from Sara Corcoran, director of HR at the University of Suffolk.
While the judges were away deliberating on the final results, also taking into account the company reports prepared in advance, Prof David Collins, head of the Suffolk Business School, gave a presentation to the audience on the various offers and courses available at the university for school leavers.
Following the announcement of the results, Mr Alcock told the finalists: “If you haven’t won anything or haven’t won what you had hoped for, don’t be too disappointed, because you’ve gained something more valuable than any award.
“Taking part in Young Enterprise will have improved your future prospects in the ‘world of work’ because many employers look for that experience in your CVs when seeking employees and might well value you above your non-Young Enterprise peers.”
The winners now go forward to a regional contest in June and, potentially, national and European competitions in July and August.
The evening also provided an opportunity to experience the world of work for six photography students at the university – Brigita Gvozdiovaite, Shannon Mattocks, Charly Buckingham, L Brett, Emily Turner and Corrinna Mark – who volunteered to record the event in pictures.
MAIN AWARDS (including funding partners)
•Overall Winner (EDF Energy): The Focus School, Nine Wicks.
•Runner-Up (Ransomes Jacobsen: Stradbroke High School, Quality Sweets.
•Best Company Report (Associated British Ports): Thomas Mills High School, Calx.
•Best Trade Stand (Adnams): The Focus School, Nine Wicks.
¶Best PowerPoint Presentation (BT): The Focus School, Nine Wicks
ADDITIONAL AWARDS FOR SPECIFIC CRITERIA
•Communications (Suffolk Chamber of Commerce): Thomas Mills High School.
•Company Administration (University of Suffolk): The Focus School.
•Customer Focus, Marketing and Sales (East Coast College): Woodbridge School.
•Financial Systems and Results (Ensors): The Focus School.
•Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Suffolk County Council): East Bergholt High School. Light.
•Objective Setting/Planning/Review (West Suffolk College): Bungay High School.
•Problem Solving/Overcoming Adversity (Aspall): Alde Valley Academy.
•Product Development (Framlingham Technology Centre): The Focus School.
•Skills and Understanding (Suffolk New College): The Focus School.
•Social Innovation (East of England Co-op): Stradbroke High School.
•Teamwork (Haven Gateway Partnership): Bungay High School.
•Green/Environmental Product (Healeys Print Group): East Bergholt High School, Clear
•Free stand space at Suffolk Show (Suffolk Agricultural Association): The Focus School.