Young Enterprise Showcase: Highlights
On 19 and 21 March the School of Business was delighted to host the Leicestershire round of the Young Enterprise Company Programme Showcase Events for the first time. Running throughout one academic year, students (aged 14-19) are tasked with setting up an enterprise and all that it entails: deciding on a company, name, logo and product, creating a business plan, managing the student company finances and selling to the public at trade fairs. Teams compete against other schools in local, regional and national competitions. These Leicestershire showcases saw 18 student companies from 16 Leicestershire schools and colleges compete for 6 places at the County Final.
1. Exceptionally motivated and innovative students
Although the judges were blown away with the high quality and creativity of the products, the real stars of the days were the students themselves. Enthusiastic from arrival, students worked together to turn an empty room into a bustling space of original trade stands. From festive bottle holders to personalised cacti, students displayed the fruits of their hard work over the past 7 months, showing a true emotional connection with their ventures. Judge, Dr Polina Khrennikova (School of Business) was particularly impressed: “The students managed to allocate the workload and management roles in a very collaborative and democratic manner.”
2. Skills for life developing in front of our eyes
Through participating in the programme, it was clear that students were developing and growing as individuals. Simon Pope, teacher and Young Enterprise Centre Lead at Sir Jonathan North Community College said: “We’ve seen our students really mature; they are learning how to lead and have developed their time management skills. Our students are also now considering going into business as a career option.” The evening presentations by each company likewise showcased students’ increased self-confidence and public speaking skills – attributes which will be invaluable for any future career.
3. Taster of University life
Students were joined by current University of Leicester students who gave them a break from presentation and trade stand preparations by taking them on a brief campus tour. Eileen Clarke (Head of Internal Audit at Nottingham Building Society) Business Advisor for Regent College commented: “Our students really appreciated the tour giving first-hand experience of university life. Our student ambassador, Shimon, immediately created a rapport with the group and gave a students’ perspective on the value of a university degree and the commitment it requires.”
4. Inspirational key-note speakers
University of Leicester student society Enactus deserves a big thank you for delivering inspiring talks on both evenings. Key messages that came across were around essential skills of an entrepreneur such as being resilient and resourceful, and advice on conquering public speaking. Enactus is an international organisation that connects student, academic and business leaders through entrepreneurial-based projects that empower people to transform opportunities into real, sustainable progress for themselves and their communities. It was brilliant for Young Enterprise students to see where their enterprise endeavours could take them!
5. Incredible team of supporters
Teachers, parents, carers, Business Advisors, Young Enterprise Board members and staff – as a School of Business we were proud to be joining such an amazing, committed team who made this programme a success. Supporters modelled qualities of collaboration to students perfectly, and we look forward to working with Young Enterprise further in the future.
Congratulations to all students who took part in these showcase events and those who were awarded for specific aspects of their company (for example, Best Trade Stand, Creativity & Innovation, Teamwork, Financial Management). And good luck to the six companies who will be competing at the County Final Competitions on 25 April.