A group of students from Year 12 are coming up with ideas for an innovative product to sell as part of a Young Enterprise competition. The 16 Sixth Formers are forming their own business in order to develop, manufacture and market a product. They will each be assigned roles including managing director, finance, sales and marketing managers and will need to interact effectively to push through their business ideas.
Mr Robin Neighbour of Young Enterprise introduced the project and emphasised the need to capitalise on their personal strengths and make quick progress as the students are due to sell their finished products in Wellingborough in November and at Northampton’s Grosvenor Centre the following month.
The team will then compete against those from up to 12 other schools at the local final in March where each group will deliver a 10-page company report and presentation. Those that demonstrate the best business ideas, results, teamwork, initiative and drive will progress to the county, regional, UK and ultimately European levels of the competition, facing successively harder opponents along the way.
Mr Neighbour told them: ‘You will be scored on communications, finance, problem solving, innovation and other categories. It is all about the experience and what you put into it. The more you put into it the more you get out of it.’
The students, who are tackling the project as part of the IEC diploma that extends students’ studies beyond the classroom, will have two timetabled sessions each week, although they will have to devote a significant further chunk of time in order to set up a viable business.
As well as support and guidance from Mr Neighbour and teacher Jonathan Browne, the students are also being mentored by Mr James McKechnie, who worked his way from Saturday boy to store manager with Sainsbury’s during a 30-year career.
Mr McKechnie told the students: ‘What is important is to think outside the box, think differently. Use your experience of life. Most people can deliver the outcome, but what is important is how we deliver it. It is about everyone having meaningful things to do within the team so that when you get results everyone will be proud of the achievement. I am excited to hear some of your ideas, it gives me a gauge of the type of people you are. Come into this experience with an understanding of what you want to take out of it so you can take away useful life skills.’