News & Events

South East Young Enterprise students bag awards at Royal Holloway University

The entrepreneurial efforts of over 150 students across the South East have been celebrated at the regional stage of a national Young Enterprise competition.

Students from nine secondary schools took part in the South East Regional Final at Royal Holloway, University of London in Surrey on 20 June 2013 after taking part in a Young Enterprise scheme to set and run their own businesses for a year with the help of business mentors.

After a grilling by judges it was a team of nine 16-17 year old students from Downe House School, West Berkshire who scooped the coveted top prize of South East Company of the Year 2013 with their business Commando – a company specialising in the development and selling of beanie and sports hats.

In particular, their innovative, professional and far reaching social media strategy helped them to bag the top award. They will now go on to represent the region at the National Company of the Year Finals in London on 1 July.

Company Managing Director, Florence Dowler said,

“We have had an amazing day. The competition was really tough, and it was a pleasant surprise to have won. We look forward to the next stage in London.”

Link Teachers Seema Singh and Diana Evans said:

“We are absolutely delighted. The girls have worked very hard to build their brand, and have created a real buzz about their business in the school community.”

Other winners at the event were

  • Fr3k Clothing, Yateley School, Hampshire New Media Award
  • Holt School, Wokingham Commonwealth Service Competition Award
  • Spark, Christ the King College, Isle of Wight  Award for Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Ink, Oxford High School, Oxford Award for Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Sparks, Guildford High School, Guildford Best Trade Stand
  • Venture, Jersey Best Company Presentation
  • Animus, Farnborough Hill School, Hampshire Best Company Report

Gold Awards for Volunteering Excellence were also presented to the following individuals:

  •  Pauline Hedges, Surrey
  •  Carlos Hood, Kent
  •  Beverley Le Cuirot, Jersey
  • Michael Edwards-Labelle, Isle of Wight
  • Eileen Shaw, High Wycombe
  • Linda Nicholls, Buckinghamshire

Professor Paul Hogg, Vice President of Research & Enterprise and Dean of Science at Royal Holloway opened the event, while Ashley Hever, Talent Acquisition Manager for Enterprise Holdings gave an inspirational speech to the 180+ guests from the local business and education community.

Karen Mangan, Area Manager said:

“We had some great companies started up by students in the South East this year and the judges were incredibly impressed with the products and services they had developed and the presentations they gave at the Awards.

“The Awards highlighted how the Young Enterprise Company Programme can inspire young people to become the entrepreneurs of tomorrow and help them develop practical business and employability skills while they are still at school.

“I particularly want to congratulate the students from Downe House School who won Company of the Year. We also could not run the programme without the help of our dedicated team of business volunteers and link teachers and would like to thank them also for their continued encouragement and support.”

More than 5000 14 to 18-year-olds in schools and colleges across the region have taken part in the Young Enterprise Company Programme this year and set up a total of 392  businesses with help from local business volunteers.

This year the event was supported by ExxonMobil and hosted for the first time by Royal Holloway University.

Nancy Bentley, Royal Holloway’s Outreach Officer for Management & Economics said,

‘The Outreach and Widening Participation team are very happy to have hosted the South East Regional Final and Awards this year. The level of competition was extremely  high and we have been inspired by the motivation, confidence and energy of all of the competitors. We wish all of the finalists well in the future business careers.”

Mark Skaife from ExxonMobil said,

‘Once again we are happy to be involved with the Company Programme in the South East, and year on year continue to be impressed by the professionalism, innovation and creativity of the finalists at the event. We wish the winning team Commando the best of luck at the next stage of the competition.’

All nine finalists had beaten tough competition at local and county level to reach the South East Final.

Commando will now  go forward to represent the South East at the National Finals at on the 30th June & 1st July at Kensington Town Hall in London.

This year’s finalists were:

  • Commando from Downe House school, Berkshire
  • Future Booster from Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School, Bucks & Milton Keynes
  • Animus from Farnborough Hill School, Hampshire
  • Spark from Christ the King College, Isle of White
  • Venture from Jersey (mixed school team)
  • Wolfpack Fashion from Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys, Kent
  • Ink from Oxford High, Oxfordshire
  • Sparks from Guildford High School, Surrey
  • Rise from Bishop Luffa School, Sussex