Westborough are winners in national business competition
Budding entrepreneurs from Dewsbury swapped the classroom for Buckingham Palace last week after clinching top prize in a nationwide enterprise competition.
The seven Year 10 students from Westborough High School were confirmed joint winners of the Tycoon in Schools contest at a ceremony attended by nine groups of finalists and the competition founder, Peter Jones CBE.
The students, who set up the company Ethical Print, impressed with a community newsletter that focuses on charity work and environmental issues. To raise profits – which were then donated to charity – they sold advertising space to local businesses.
Team member Suhail Rahim, 14, said: “It was amazing attending Buckingham Palace and winning both the Key Stage 4 and overall Tycoon in Schools trophy. It was an experience of a lifetime and it made all our hard work worthwhile.
“During the competition we learned how to pitch an idea, how to negotiate with clients and suppliers and how to use our time wisely. We learnt business etiquette and the approaches needed in clinching a deal.”
Since its launch in 2012, a single team has won Tycoon in Schools each year.
However, in a surprise announcement by the Dragon’s Den star during the ceremony, it emerged that three companies would share the top spot – each collecting £1,000 investment.
The champions had all won their respective key stage categories with Berkshire’s ‘Retrocycle’, West Yorkshire’s ‘Ethical Print’, and Tyne and Wear’s ‘Mount’, all triumphant.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Mr Jones said: “I was delighted to announce the winners of Tycoon in Schools at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace this afternoon with HRH The Duke of York, KG, Patron of The Peter Jones Foundation.
“The standard was so high this year that we decided to crown not one, but three winners. All of the teams have worked so hard and I have been bowled over by their enthusiasm and achievements throughout the competition. With thousands of students taking part, it has been the most successful Tycoon in Schools yet.
“Retrocycle, Ethical Print and Mount were the teams that really stood out to all the judges. They all excelled in each area of the judging criteria, came up with some incredibly innovative ideas, worked excellently as a team and generated some incredible profits.”
Tycoon in Schools challenges schoolchildren from all over the UK to develop their own real-life businesses.
After pitching an idea to their teachers, they receive a loan of up to £1,000 from the Peter Jones Foundation to get their companies up and running.
They then raise as much profit as possible during a seven-week trading period, before submitting a final evaluation report to a panel chaired by Mr Jones himself.
The judges consider profitability, teamwork, business concept, sustainability and community engagement.
Lukman Patel, head of ethics at Westborough High School, said he would recommend the programme to all schools across the country.
“I was so impressed with the resilience that the students showed throughout this competition. They have learnt skills that will stand them in good stead for the future,” he said.
“We would encourage all schools to take part in Tycoon in Schools. It allows young people to develop fantastic enterprise and business skills.”