An explosion of new business talent at Old Spitalfields Market
From flowers made of fizzy drink cans to collapsible water bottles and unisex bow ties - that's Young Enterprise today!
There were flowers crafted out of fizzy drink cans and collapsible water bottles, bamboo place mats, hand made Valentine’s Day cards and trendy beanie hats. There were even vegetable planting kits and unisex bow ties.
It was a truly extraordinary scene as 43 teams of budding teenage entrepreneurs descended on Old Spitalfields Market in the heart of the City of London for the annual Pan-London trade fair.
Despite a wicked wind and soaking rain blowing into the revered Victorian market the savvy students were undeterred by the challenging trading conditions.
Instead of remaining passive behind their groaning trade stands, the young business stars took to their heels and hawked their products around the fair, talking to members of the public and handing out leaflets as they demonstrated their wares.
The star judges who were called upon to name the best teams at the show were deeply impressed, if a bit taken aback by the quality of the competition.
Jordan Poulton, a contestant in the BBC’s The Apprentice 2013 show, and the Marketing Director of Makers Academy, said: “It was a really hard decision to make. The teams here are all very impressive and it took us a long time to decide on the winner.
“My one tip is that in the early days of business you have to find ways that add value but don’t cost money.”
His fellow Apprentice star Jason Leech said: “I’m hugely impressed by the young people here. They’ve set up businesses and they’re doing real, impressive work with their products.”
For fans of the TV show, Jordan, 26, is a business analyst. Despite having the best record of anyone in the series, winning 7 out of the 10 tasks, he was fired in Week 11, but came a highly creditable fifth in the competition.
Jason, 29, a historian and property entrepreneur, exited the show in week 8. One consolation was that Lord Sugar said that Jason was an “awfully nice fellow” – as he fired him.
All the students pitching their products at Old Spitalfields Market are taking part in Young Enterprise’s flagship Company Programme. Aimed at students aged between 15 and 19, the programme gives them the chance to set up and run their own company for a year, under the guidance of a skilled business mentor.
The students elect a board of directors from amongst their peers, raise share capital and market and finance a product or service that they create. During an intense 12-month period they trade at shopping centres and markets all over London. Old Spitalfields Market is seen as the most prestigious trading location.
And the Winners were……
Most Innovative Product
Sutton Grammar School for Boys
Company Name: ‘Reflex Enterprise’
Product : ‘Unwind’ – automatic cable winder for all wires such as headphones and USB’s
Best Trade Stand
Beech Grove School
Bamboo Tableware (including placemats, coasters, utensils, candle holders and vases)
Best Sales Team
St Paul’s School
Bubi Bottle – Collapsible drinks bottle that retains heat. Comes in assorted colours
Best Company Overall
Sutton Grammar Sch for Boys as above
Special Recognition Awards
‘Around the world in 80 plates’ – A cooking activity pack for young children.
Pield Heath School
Canvas bags, Ceramics and Cards.