Suffolk: Debenham High School claims top honour at Young Enterprise award final
"The teams had really got into the swing of running a business"
Six teams of students from Suffolk schools took part in this year’s Young Enterprise Business Awards, held at BT’s Adastral Park complex at Martlesham Heath, near Ipswich.
The event was the culmination of the Young Enterprise Company Programme in Suffolk, under which students run their own business during the academic year, creating a product or service, marketing and selling it in a “real world” environment and producing financial reports that include profit and loss accounts and balance sheets.
The six schools taking part in the final, originating from 13 that initially registered for 2013-14, were Debenham High School, East Bergholt High School, Farlingaye High School, Ipswich High School for Girls, Thomas Mills High School and Woodbridge School.
Awards and certificates for the overall winner and the runner-up were determined by separate judgements of the teams’ company reports, interviews conducted at trade stands during the afternoon of the event and presentations during the evening.
The judges were asked to focus on 10 key criteria identified by the national Young Enterprise body in reaching their conclusions, such as teamwork and financial performance.
Awards were also presented for the best company report, trade stand and powerpoint presentation. In addition, there was recognition for the best performance under each of the 10 criteria, plus an award for the greenest company and a prize from Suffolk Agricultural Association in the form of space for a stand at this year’s Suffolk Show on May 28 and 29.
The five judges, together with Eddy Alcock, chairman of the Suffolk Young Enterprise board, who acted as non-voting chairman of the panel were Cliff Matthews, board member and regional manager for SITA UK, Sadie Lofthouse, head of human resources at Adnams, Paul Davey, head of corporate affairs for the Port of Felixstowe, Steve Newman, head of school for enterprise and technology at Suffolk New College, and Tony Houghton, board member and educational development director at the Cambridge Centre for Innovation in Technological Education.
The overall winner, for the second year running, was Debenham High School, with this year’s company, Qwurk, with Woodbridge School’s company, Washed Up, as runner-up. The best company report and best trade stand awards also went to Debenham High School, with the best powerpoint presentation credited to Woodbridge School.
The students from Debenham High School summarised their achievements in their company eeport, saying: “The team has learned to work effectively together: we have developed skills in communication, in minute taking, finances, facets of product design, manufacturing, marketing and sales. We’ve learned to take on responsibility and have made changes in organisation to maximise our potential as a team; learning that to be effective we must communicate with each other and respond to each other’s requests for help to complete action points within set time frames. We’ve also come to appreciate that to succeed we must work hard – working weekends and late into the evenings to achieve our goals.”
Kevin Woollard, BT’s director for research engagement and operations at Adastral Park, addressed the audience of 250 students and their supporters about the activities that take place within Adastral Park and the employment opportunities that might be available to school leavers.
He said: “We were delighted to host the awards again in 2014 and I was pleased to see such a strong set of entries. The teams had really got into the swing of running a business, building the skills that companies, like BT, need for the future.”
Eddy Alcock thanked everyone who had contributed to the event, in particular funding partners, supporters and judges for giving their time, Poppy Davidson and BT’s Adam Oliver for photography, together with Joe Crofts from Suffolk New College, BT Adastral Park for hosting and support leading up to the event, and the students themselves.
He told them: “If you haven’t won what you had hoped for, don’t be disappointed because you’ve gained something more valuable than any award. Taking part in Young Enterprise will have improved your future prospects in the world of work because many employers look for that experience when seeking employees and may well value you above others.”