Simon Lewis, CEO of PMW, was delighted to be part of the Young Enterprise business competition once again this year. The South East has more business start-ups than anywhere else in the UK and the Young Enterprise South East Regional Final certainly showcased our region’s entrepreneurialism.
The final, held at Guildford Cathedral on 13th June, celebrated students who have set up and run a company over this academic year. Simon was part of the judging panel for the final and was overwhelmed by the level of professionalism and talent displayed in the business plans and presentations. “Working with Young Enterprise as a judge is such a positive experience! All of the teams competing in the South East Final demonstrated creativity, ambition and passion and I learned something new from each of them. If these bright young people are indicative of our next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders, we can look forward to the future with confidence.”
As a previous participant in Young Enterprise, Ellen Bull, Finance Assistant at PMW, also attended the final. “I knew I was going to witness something inspiring having participated in the Young Enterprise myself twenty years ago and it didn’t disappoint. The standards were exceptionally high and it was wonderful to see so many students take the opportunity set up their own companies.”
Young Enterprise is the UK’s leading enterprise and financial education charity reaching over 250,000 young people every year. They achieve this by making the connection between school and the world of work, in a way that enables young people to develop the knowledge and attitudes they need to succeed. The charity is supported by over 6,000 business volunteers who give up their time to share their experiences in the classroom and contribute to local volunteer boards.
There were ten teams in the final from schools and colleges in Surrey, Hampshire, Kent, Sussex, the Isle of Wight and the Channel Islands. The teams showed an impressive variety of innovative ideas.
Christ the King College won the creativity award for their fantastic idea, a pocket sized book translating slang words, aimed at teenagers travelling to the UK to study. Farnborough Hill School set up a company which successfully sent out monthly pet parcels. Walthamstow Hall School sold British Sign Language t-shirts and Davidson High School in Sussex made and produced handmade lapel pins. Edunow from the Royal Grammar School Guildford created a particularly impressive education focused website and app, writing the 1000s of lines of code required and the revision notes used for the content.
As part of the judging criteria, all teams have to produce a detailed business plan, including brief company accounts. This year, PMW were proud sponsors of the Best Report Category, awarded to the company whose business report demonstrated the best understanding of their business, objectives, learnings and achievements. Simon awarded the prize to Lunar from the Royal Grammar School in Guildford. “They were very clear about what their goals were and how they achieved them”. Their product was a children’s book, entitled Jacob’s Journey, that tells the story of a young boy, Jacob, who is bullied at school because he is different. They wrote the book themselves and every illustration in the book was drawn by hand, by a member of their team, Sahej Grewal, a talented illustrator. Surrey County Council were so taken with the book that they added the book to the recommended book list for all their schools and libraries.
The South East Regional Winners were “To Be” a company made up from students from a number of schools and colleges in Jersey. The winners had a very straight forward concept that they commercialised extremely well. “To Be”, created and sold a Jersey-themed recipe book and calendar. The hard-back recipe cookbook included many recipes donated from local Jersey Restaurants and Chefs. The team said that they were “amazed and thrilled to have won and to be going to the national finals!”
It was inspiring to see so many young people creating such a broad range of credible businesses. PMW are already looking forward to next year and meeting the next exciting group of future entrepreneurs.
To find out more about Young Enterprise please visit: www.young-enterprise.org.uk