Suffolk: Young Enterprise students rise to the challenge

Students from seven schools around Suffolk took part in the county final of the 2012 Young Enterprise awards, hosted by University Campus Suffolk in Ipswich, with top honours going to the team from Thomas Mills High School in Framlingham.

EIGHT teams of pupils from schools around Suffolk put on show their potential as the next generation of entrepreneurs at the county’s 2012 Young Enterprise awards.

The event, held at University Campus Suffolk’s Waterfront Building in Ipswich, was the culmination of the Young Enterprise Company Programme in the county in which students are challenged to develop and run their own business.

The eight participants, out of an original entry of 11 teams, were required to compile a company report, put on a trade stand display and make a Powerpoint presentation to a panel of judges.

Schools taking part included Thomas Mills High School, Framlingham, Woodbridge School (with two entries), St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, Ipswich High School for Girls, Woolverstone,Farlingaye High School, Woodbridge, East Bergholt High School and Kesgrave High School.

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There were awards for the top four places, based on overall marks for the three elements of the contest, plus additional awards under 10 criteria set by the national body for Young Enterprise and one for an environmentally-sympathetic entry.

The panel of judges included Andrew Harston, chief operating officer at Harwich International Port and Thamesport (owned by Hutchison Ports (UK) Ltd), Cliff Matthews, regional manager for energy from waste at SITA UK, Michael Ladd, head of human resources at Adnams, and Tony Houghton, an independent education practitioner and a member of the Suffolk board for Young Enterprise, with Eddy Alcock, chairman of the Suffolk Young Enterprise board, acting as non-voting chairman.

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Two Highly Commended awards for overall consistency went to St Joseph’s College’s “Smart Trading” and to Woodbridge School’s “TinnyCo”, funded respectively by Adnams of Southwold and EDF Energy – Nuclear New Build. The runner-up was Woodbridge School’s “Wat-a-Bottle”, funded by SITA UK, and the overall award, funded by the Port of Felixstowe, was presented to Thomas Mills High School’s “Misc”.

Thomas Mills High will now go forward to the regional round of the competition in Cambridge and, if successful, progress to the national competition in London’s Savoy Hotel.

A spokesman for the winning Thomas Mills High School team said: “Overall we have found our Young Enterprise experience a very valuable one that has taught us lessons that we could never learn in an everyday school environment.

“We have developed as individuals as well as learning how to work effectively as a group. Conflicts of ideas within the team have taught us the valuable lesson of compromise, which has given us a taste of the business world.”

Individual comments from the team included:

n “Young Enterprise has made me a more confident person and has taught me a wide range of skills from practical skills to time management.”

n “Young Enterprise has given me a great insight into the world of business and working as a team to overcome any challenges to successfully achieve our goals.”

n “From Young Enterprise I have leant the importance of organisation and how to work as part of a team, taking on individual responsibilities, at the same time as cooperating with the opinions and inputs of other team members.”

While the judges reached their decisions, following the teams’ presentations, Professor David Weir, head of the School of Business, Leadership & Enterprise at UCS, spoke about UCS and what it has to offer the students who will shortly become school leavers.

Eddy Alcock concluded the event by thanking Penny Morgan of Penny Morgan Photography for giving up her day without charge and Michael Ladd of Adnams presented a bottle of wine to rest of the judges and to Young Enterprise’s area manager, Patricia Hagan.

“As always, we are extremely grateful to all of our 15 funding partners, one of whom also financed the catering, consisting of 100 students’ buffet lunches and 200 light refreshments in the evening, at not much short of �1,000 total cost, said Mr Alcock.

Other supporters of the competition included Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, Ensors Chartered Accountants, Suffolk New College, UCS and Framlingham Technology Centre.

John Dugmore, chief executive at Suffolk Chamber, said: “Suffolk Young Enterprise supports the development of entrepreneurial flair in our young people.

“The chamber is delighted to support the initiative, which ties in well with our own Young Chamber work. Such projects and initiatives that give our youngsters an opportunity to showcase their business acumen and talents is something we must all get behind.’’

Jenny Stockman, business development manager at Framlingham Technology Centre, said: “This experience is helping us, as employers, understand in greater depth and with much more respect, just how much young people can contribute to business through innovation, problem solving and sheer hard work.

“It is vital Young Enterprise continues to grow and include a far greater number of young people of all abilities to give them this unique ‘real world’ experience. Framlingham Technology Centre will always look for Young Enterprise experience on a CV.”

Professor Mike Saks, provost and chief executive at UCS, added: “It was a pleasure to host Young Enterprise at UCS as supporting enterprise is a central part of our mission. It was impressive to see the level of engagement at this event of young entrepreneurs across Suffolk.”

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