Entrepreneurs on the Staffordshire Young Enterprise programme have been pitching their business ideas to some of the county’s business chiefs in a Dragons’ Den style event.
The event on Tuesday 22 November at Michelin Headquarters in Stoke saw pupils from 13 schools from across North Staffordshire and the city of Stoke-on-Trent take part.
Ideas pitched included a wood burner brick made from recycled paper, handmade designer clocks, ‘Glow up bottles’, reclaimed wooden storage boxes made from pallets, and plantable gift cards with seeds in them.
Dragons included Nick Gilbert from Michelin, Sarah Da Silva, the chairwoman of Staffordshire Young Enterprise, and Mike Cozens from World of Wedgwood.
The Young Enterprise programme is being co-ordinated by Staffordshire County Council in partnership with the Education Trust. It is being funded by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership with support from volunteer business advisers from organisations such as Michelin, Wedgwood, Federation of Small businesses, Asda and many more.
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership chairman David Frost CBE said: “Initiatives such as Young Enterprise are key to inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs and giving them a sound foundation in business skills.
“Many of the jobs of the future will come from start-up businesses and small businesses so it is important to encourage our enterprising young people. This is vital not only for the future of our young people, but also to ensure that we build a thriving local and national economy.”
Ben Adams, Cabinet Member for Learning and Skills at Staffordshire County Council said: “Young Enterprise is a great programme that is really helping inspire our young people with the skills confidence and ambition to succeed in this ever-changing global economy.
“These young entrepreneurs of today will be the business leaders of tomorrow, so it’s vital that they get the insight to how business works and to even have a go at running their own enterprise themselves when they are so young. Young Enterprise and activities such as the Dragons’ Den event give them the skills to succeed.”
Young Enterprise is the UK’s leading charity that empowers young people to harness their personal and business skills. Pupils work alongside teachers, business mentors and employers in school and take part in practical, engaging activities that introduce them to the world of work and enterprise.
Pupils set up and run a real business over the academic year, making all the decisions about their business, from deciding on the company name and product, to creating a business plan, managing the finances and selling their products to the public at trade fairs.
Twenty high schools from across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent have already got involved in Young Enterprise programmes, working with over 3,500 students. This academic year 2016/17, the programme hopes to work with a total of 37 schools, involving around 11,500 young people.
The team from Madeley High School is pictured above.