International Retailer Gives Amazing Offer to Teenage Entrepreneurs
Devon’s brightest teenage entrepreneurs have been given an offer which could set them up for life.
Thanks to businessman Chris Dawson, of the successful home, garden and leisure retail chain The Range, the winners of the Young Enterprise Devon Final will be able to pitch to his top buyers.
Save our World from Ilfracombe Academy scooped the top prize of the Best Overall Company Trophy. Save our World’s Mission is to teach the younger generation the effects that plastic pollution has on the wildlife and the environment around them in a fun and creative way. Their product is a suite of three books for children aged 3-8 years. The stories feature a hero called Peter the Puffin who goes out of his way to save other animals of the sea including Tilly the Turtle, Simon the Seagull and Sandy the Seal.
Other category winners were Devonport High School for Boys, who won the Best Trade Stand and Best Company Report trophies; Eclipse from Devonport High School for Girls won the Best Team Interview trophy and Save Our World won the Best Presentation award.
The event, held on Saturday at the Plymouth School of Creative Arts saw some 80 students from all over Devon hoping to receive the ‘Best Overall Company’ award. Representing six different companies, the students presented their trade stands, pitched their companies and were interviewed by a panel of judges, as part of the competition-style Company Programme.
The exciting news was announced to the winning team for the first time when Range senior buyer Mike Edwards presented the top award.
Mike, who has grown into his current role since joining The Range 13 years ago, said:
“The best part of my job is developing products. I appreciate what effort goes into bringing a product to market from initial concept to a finished product; from developing exclusive products with brands or our own label products. So what these youngsters have achieved at their age is absolutely amazing”.
The Range said it is very proud to be supporting the Young Enterprise competition again this year as it does an ‘amazing job of nurturing talent and giving students the opportunity to gain valuable business experience’.
Chris Dawson, the owner and founder of The Range added:
“I like the way The Young Enterprise competition promotes entrepreneurial spirit in Plymouth. Congratulations to the winners and we hope you are all able to build on this success in your careers.”
Since September last year, 19 participating teams elected a board of directors, formed a company, designed a brand, raised capital, marketed and sold their product. They are supported by teachers, volunteer business advisers and YE board members.
Companies from Plymouth included Endeavour representing Tor Bridge High, Eclipse from Devonport High School for Girls and Link from Devonport High School for Boys. Other Devon teams were Novel Ideas from Honiton Community College, and Off to the Stars from Petroc, Tiverton.
Their products ranged from a dementia-friendly diary, a children’s bereavement kit, a safe to drink travel mug with a temperature gauge, a Devon Cookbook featuring recipes donated by establishments throughout Devon, a tooth-brushing pack for children and a set of three books for children aged 3-8 years which teach about the effects of plastic pollution on wildlife and the environment.
Devon final organiser Stephanie Anderson, YE Plymouth & West Devon Area Manager, said:
“These students are absolutely inspiring. They have worked so hard to produce such great quality and appealing products whilst having the added pressure of studying for exams. We are all extremely proud of them.”
Judges included Steve Gerry, Secretary of the Plymouth Manufacturing Group, Nathian Carnall, Site Director of the Sitel Group, Kevin Connor, Bishop Fleming Senior Manager and Michael Stewart, Business Consultant and former Plymouth & West Devon YE Board Chair.
Master of Ceremonies was BBC Radio Devon’s David Fitzgerald who introduced the teams, along with guest speaker Louise Pasterfield, Managing Director of Sponge UK. Louise spoke to the youngsters about her passion of making learning absorbing so staff can apply what they have learned immediately into the workplace.
Marian Weston, YE Area Manager for Exeter, North and South Devon, added:
“We are very grateful to the many local businesses who have supported us during the year, either by providing advisers, facilities and/or a financial contribution and would encourage anyone interested in what we are doing to get in touch,”
The winning team will now go through to the South West Regional Finals to be held at The Met Office, Exeter, on Wednesday, 13th June.
For more information on the work that Young Enterprise does, please visit www.young-enterprise.org.uk