Junior Ideas Factory Winners
For the last four months, all students in Year 8 at Longsands Academy in St Neots have been taking part in an enterprise initiative sponsored by local Construction Company Mick George Ltd. Students were propelled into a simulated working environment during their curricular ‘Enterprise’ lessons and were set the challenge to develop a functional business concept.
Working in teams, the groups set about working collaboratively as an operating business to hopefully make a profit and overcome their peers. Today, the initiative came to a magnificent climax with each form given the opportunity to make their final presentations to a panel of business professionals from Mick George Ltd, in a Dragon’s Den style setting.
During the presentations, students were asked to explain their product, and talk judges through their business idea, including Sales and Marketing strategies, profit and loss data, as well as how well the pupils worked together in a real-life business situation. On reflection, the students were able to distinguish how their roles within the project would help them relate to real-life jobs in the workplace, and ultimately help them develop their entrepreneurial skills.
It was a tough feat, but the judges managed to whittle it down to the top three forms that impressed them the most by way of teamwork, overall business planning, and profit made.
In third position was form 8AFI with their ‘Scented candle’ product idea, and second place was 8KKJ with their ‘Stress Ball’ enterprise and creative strapline ‘Squish if you Wish’. Both teams managed to draw in a healthy profit and display a high-level of workmanship with products produced.
Finishing in first place however, was form 8DAN, who wowed the judges from the get-go.
Arriving to the presentation, arms clad with paper bags to carry their products in, presenting their business plan through various mediums, their bang on trend ‘shabby-chic’ recycled fabric bunting, pillows and napkin business certainly turned heads amongst the ‘Mick George Dragons’.
Salvaged from a local seamstress company from a nearby town, the group took their unwanted materials and upcycled them to create new desirable products to sell to friends, family and teachers alike. The students had also managed to accrue a profit of over £180 for the products that were being sold for between £2 and £3.50 per item.
The winning form will enjoy a trip to Kidzania in London for all their hard-work, where they will be submerged in a number of real-life activities and situations to test their skills in a variety of professions, further aiding the children’s development.
Kate Martindale, Head of Enterprise at Longsands Academy said: ''The initiative was a great success; it enabled students to identify their strengths and weakness which will be invaluable when they come to make their post 16 career and education choices.''
Jon Stump, Finance Director at Mick George Ltd commented: ‘’The Junior Ideas Factory was an extension to a service that our business operates seeking to support general business ideas offered by inspiring entrepreneurs.’’
Stump continued: ‘’Although we have engaged with schools frequently in the past, it has not been in this capacity and tremendous credit should go to both the staff, pupils and parents at Longsands for the encouragement that they have displayed in embracing this competition. For a group at such a young age to exhibit the business acumen that they have, is incredible. It will certainly stand them in good-stead with their career aspirations in the future.’’