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Students put business skills to the test
THE entrepreneurial spirit was in full swing in Worcester as future Alan Sugars and Deborah Meadens set up shop.
Dozens of students from schools across south Worcestershire were selling their wares to the public in Cathedral Plaza shopping centre, having founded their own Young Enterprise companies - a scheme that helps young people learn about business and the world of work.
Jewellery made from soft drink cans, vinyl records converted into clocks and honey sold to raise money for bee conservation were among the products being snapped up by shoppers.
Speaking on Saturday, Paul Moult, chairman of the Young Enterprise South Worcestershire Area Board, said: “We have 19 different companies here today from different schools. I’ve been doing this for many years and the one thing which amazes me is that [the students] start in September knowing nothing about business and four months later they’ve made products and are running a company.
“For me, the scheme is so critical for the students’ future development. You hear a lot from the Government that there’s not enough emphasis on enterprise and from businesses that school leavers have no concept of it.
“This is such a phenomenal way to get kids out into the world of work and it will help them make some important decisions too. They’ll take the knowledge they get now and in the future, they’ll use it.”
Among the students selling their products were Pershore High School’s Scott Cawkell and Tim Bartlett, both 18, who are directors of clothing company Phresh 15.
Mr Cawkell said: “We use local businesses to make our products and social networking to make people aware we’re selling them below high street prices.
“We also make designs that people suggest on Facebook. Our t-shirts are 100 per cent cotton so they’re good quality and we sell them for £10, making 50 per cent profit.
“We also tie-dye t-shirts ourselves and we’ve made £180 profit so far, selling out at the last event.
“I think Young Enterprise is really good because we go from learning from text books to testing out what it’s like in real life. The most satisfying thing is making profit. We all put in shares to finance buying some stock and this will really prepare me for later life.”
Each company was also be scored on criteria including sales, marketing and their product as part of competition, with the top eight going through to a presentation evening at King’s School Worcester in April.
They will then go head-to-head with businesses from across the region in a bid to secure a place at the West Midlands final in June, which will be held in Worcester for the first time.