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About the event
Pupils from Weston Road High School will aim to emulate Messrs Branson, Green and Jones, when they do battle with five other schools in the final of the West Midlands Young Enterprise Awards.
The six students, aged between 16-18 years-old, will showcase their ‘Flying High’ bird feeding perch and present their business plans to a panel of industry and academic experts during the judging day at Staffordshire University on 19th June 2008.
They will also enter into the ‘Big Brother’ style diary room to answer searching questions about their experiences, what key skills they’ve learned and be asked to suggest their top tips for future schools who embark on the Young Enterprise Company Programme. This footage, filmed in Staffordshire University’s industry standard TV Centre, will be used to encourage businesses and schools to participate in the competition in the future.
“Weston Road’s Flying High team impressed everyone during the Staffordshire heats and will be strong contenders in the regional finals,” explained Staffordshire University’s Ruth Chell, who is helping to organise the event.
“‘Flying High’ is a company producing a perspex bird feeding perch that can be fixed onto a window so householders can view birdlife close-up. It’s an interesting concept and one that is proving extremely popular, with the product selling extremely well.”
She went onto add: “The youngsters have tapped into expert advice from Chris Wayman, Senior Lecturer in Product Design at Staffordshire University, and also used our latest laser cutter to help turn their innovative designs into reality. That is what enterprise is all about.”
The Staffordshire finalists will face tough competition from entries from the 5 other West Midlands regions of Birmingham & Solihull, the Black Country, Shropshire, Hereford and Worcester and Coventry & Warwickshire, with their innovative product competing against eco-friendly window boxes, cooking books, study guides and a purse made out re-cycled juice cartons.
The winning regional team will represent the West Midlands in the UK National final at the Park Lane Hotel in London on 14 and 15 July and onwards to the European final later in the Summer to be held in Stockholm.
Ruth continued: “Young Enterprise is all about giving youngsters the chance to ‘learn and succeed through doing’ and the awards programme is a fantastic way to cultivate the entrepreneurs and business leaders of tomorrow.
“Six Staffordshire University graduates, who have all started their own businesses, will be on hand to provide encouragement, advice and guidance to the finalists, and share experiences of what it’s like to run your own company.”
Staffordshire University is seen as one of the UK’s driving forces on enterprise and the only university to operate a Foundation Degree in Business Start-up.
This, combined with three specialist Business Villages and the highly successful SPEED programme (Student Placements for Entrepreneurs in Education) programme, has helped to create 133 companies over the last two years, adding 200 jobs and £700,000 to the local economy.
Going forward, the Staffordshire University has been awarded £3.3million for an Employer Engagement project to support even more start-ups, with a target of creating 180 new firms over the next three years.