Students across several Suffolk Secondary Schools took on The Enterprise Challenge during the Spring term to showcase their business ideas.
Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils and West Suffolk Council worked in collaboration with Menta to deliver the pilot programme.
Open to students in Years 9-11, who could take part individually or in teams of up to 4 people, the Challenge was designed to develop enterprise skills in young people in Suffolk. The students explored the possibility of setting up their own business, building their confidence by developing presentations, planning and teamwork skills.
Students were supported by mentors from local businesses and the district council Economic Development teams. The students had total creative control over the content and presentation of their final enterprise idea. Ideas ranged from innovative clothing and new apps to specialist foods and new musical instruments and more.
The judges were representatives from district councils and Menta. Judges provided constructive feedback to the students around what impressed them and what areas they might want to consider adding or elaborating on.
All the teams came up with and presented exceptional ideas, but it was County High School in West Suffolk that claimed the title of overall cross-district winner with their brilliant concept.
County High School said: “We have been extremely privileged to be a part of this pilot project. It has been great to see our students motivated and excited to receive professional advice from external organisations and West Suffolk Council, which has also given them many new skills to support their current GCSE Business coursework.
“Our students have enjoyed every aspect of the opportunity and are looking forward to applying all of the new skills they have learnt to further business opportunities in the future.”
A small grant was given to participating schools to use towards careers support for students, in recognition of their contribution to the programme.
Cllr Susan Glossop, Cabinet Member for Growth, West Suffolk Council said “I was very impressed with the quality of work submitted by all the schools taking part and I am delighted that County High were the overall winners. By supporting initiatives like the Enterprise Challenge we enable students to develop their creative thinking and problem-solving skills in a practical setting. Encouraging young people to think about their careers, plus the life and business skills they need to achieve their ambitions help shape a resilient future workforce.”
Cllr John Ward, Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, Babergh District Council, said: “Well done to all the teams taking part in the first Enterprise Challenge. This initiative was developed to get students thinking about business ideas as well as building their skills and confidence which they can use in the future.”
Cllr Harry Richardson, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, Mid Suffolk Council, commented: “All the judges were really impressed with the creative business ideas the students came up with. The Enterprise Challenge pilot has provided students with a unique opportunity to try something new and gain new experiences.”
Menta said: “Menta have enjoyed the opportunity to work alongside some very creative and knowledgeable young people. We feel proud of the hard work and dedication they have all shown towards the Enterprise Challenge. A number of our @inc Co-Working community were involved in the judging process and stated how impressed they were with the level of work and skill that has been presented. MENTA would like to express a big thank you to the staff within each school who have welcomed us warmly and shown such dedication to the challenge and the additional support they have provided their students. MENTA hopes that each student has gained enterprise knowledge and experience that they will feel confident enough to take forward with them in life. If these students take a leap into entrepreneurship/ self-employment, MENTA is always on hand to give them access to gain more knowledge in this field.”