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CorpComms magazine considers the revamp of Young Enterprise and the value of a simple tenner

What can you do with a ten pound note? Quite a lot, according to Young Enterprise

tenner screenshotWhat can you do with a ten pound note? Quite a lot, according to Young Enterprise, which is in the middle of accepting applications from schools for its Tenner campaign.

The scheme, aimed at turning today’s schoolchildren into tomorrow’s entrepreneurs, challenges teams of schoolchildren to come up with their own business ideas, marketing them and then selling the results – all with seed capital of just £10 and a time period of just one month.

While Tenner’s participants are young, web-savvy and sparkling with ideas, the scheme’s image was less than youthful when Young Enterprise acquired it back in 2012 from Enterprise UK.

The acquisition, made after Enterprise UK lost all of its Government funding, included the Tenner brand and website, a contact database of schools, and full records of previous years’ schemes.

However, as Paul Eastham, head of communications at Young Enterprise, recalls, the scheme had had a year off, meaning that the brand was no longer fresh in people’s minds, while the technology behind the campaign had not kept up with the times. Much of the communication with schools was still done through paper, rather than online.

What was more, by the time the legal structure behind the Tenner transfer had been put in place, Young Enterprise had just eight weeks to get a new site up and running so that it could run the campaign for the year.

With less than two months to go, Young Enterprise turned to agency Bladonmore, with whom they had previously worked, to come up with a website that would allow the charity to engage with schools and children, capture the data it needed and take the majority of Tenner’s operations online.

‘We came up with a brand identity,’ explains Sharon May, client services director at Bladonmore. ‘The brand needed new vigour. It was successful but hadn’t been live in schools in a while.’ Bladonmore came up with a new Tenner logo, featuring a spiral and a rectangle bearing the word ‘tenner’, drawn in an informal fashion. ‘It is meant to be a thumbprint,’ explains May. ‘It’s you putting your own stamp onto your tenner and making it your very own. We also came up with doodles for an informal design.’

The whole relaunch had a budget of £23,000, and Young Enterprise, as a charity, needed to be able to manage Tenner themselves without external help, once the relaunch was complete. ‘We gave them a tool kit which they could use to develop lots of assets,’ May says. ‘They could produce content for children to use in a classroom from the tool kit, as well as lots of other things.’

The new website gives those interested in the Tenner campaign plenty of information to work with. It includes supporting content such as case studies, a video library, downloadable sample activities and lesson plans.

Once schools have decided to sign up to Tenner, the website also works as a way to record data. Teachers register their participating teams using an online account system. Individual teams can log in to their own subaccounts to record their progress and profits throughout the month, and can download resources such as spreadsheets and pre- and post-evaluation questionnaires to track progress.

As well as being a successful way to capture data, the new website contains the tools to measure it as well. Young Enterprise’s Tenner team can monitor the initiative online, exporting key project information including a database of all schools taking part and the size of the profits that they make.

Eastham says that the charity discovered that the average profit made by a school team with a tenner was over £100.

Young Enterprise has used this website to measure the conversion rate of the schools that come to them for the Tenner campaign. In 2011, fewer than one per cent of the schools that registered as interested in the campaign actually participated. This number rose to 4.8 per cent thanks to the new website.

The number of teams taking part after the relaunch rose 450 per cent to 328, while the number of schools taking part rose 218 per cent to 342.

Young Enterprise communicated its relaunch using celebrity endorsement, including Sir Richard Branson, who appears on the Tenner website. Richard Reed, co-founder of Innocent Drinks, was also involved in the campaign, as well as Acton Smith, who founded the popular Moshi Monsters website.

Tenner garnered local support from regional entrepreneurs, who are well-known in their areas and endorsed the campaign on Twitter, local and national radio.

Young Enterprise also embraced social media, tweeting about Tenner. ‘We discovered that Twitter works for teachers,’ Eastham explains. ‘They are too busy to read conventional media but we had responses to tweets because they come up on their phones.’

Tenner also had an unexpected benefit for Young Enterprise itself. The charity, which has been going since 1963, has its own programme for young entrepreneurs, which involve year long challenges. However, Eastham explains that some schools are unwilling to invest that much time in a programme. Tenner, which lasts just a month, has been a great way to get more schools involved.

The Tenner programme has also proved a stepping stone for the charity to sign up schools to take on a longer programme. ‘One in five schools now signs up for a longer commitment,’ Eastham says. ‘Once they saw the benefits of Tenner they were interested in doing more.’

As a result of the relaunch of Tenner, Bladonmore and Young Enterprise are now relaunching the entire Young Enterprise brand. ‘Young Enterprise is a great story, and the brand takes a lot of pride in what it does,’ explains May. ‘However, the brand identity could be a lot more energised. This has all come out of Tenner and we’re really excited about it.’