Young Enterprise experience

On 23rd June, Year 10 arrived at school in jackets, ties and suits, as opposed to the usual uniform and assembled for our ‘Masterclass Business Day’. The year group was divided into four teams and each team was introduced to a business expert who was going to guide them through the day.

‘What would you say to Richard Branson if you were in an elevator with him and wanted a job?’ This style of condensed thinking was to be the theme for our first activity and we were tasked to come up with a 60 second speech about ourselves, including what we wanted to get out of the session. After five minutes we gave our speeches to the group which proved to be our chance to learn interesting new things about people we’d known for years; our group was interested to hear about William Bullock’s role as a water-sports instructor. We were then given feedback and we discussed how the speeches could be improved.

The next two activities focussed on the theme of success. We discussed: ‘what does success mean to me, can success be measured by money, flashy cars and designer clothes, is it about having a settled family life or, is it about personal satisfaction at work and at home? Whilst there were plenty who said cash and designer clothing, a decent number of us put personal satisfaction at the top of the list! Next, we discussed the individuals we saw as successful. There were the obvious footballers, Hollywood stars and entrepreneurs, but doctors, scientists and local community leaders also made it onto the list. Ultimately, what we gained from this activity was that you don’t need to be rich or famous to be successful.

Break time meant tea and biscuits (nice biscuits), and sophisticated conversation, as if we were attending a business conference. Twenty minutes later, refuelled, we began work on our business ideas. Initially, our group brainstormed and came up with a list of twenty-nine business suggestions, ranging from my not-so-popular automatic pizza machine, Harry Walsh’s economical goal-sensing technology, and a much discussed food ordering app. By voting, we narrowed this list down to seven ideas and then to three. In the end, to decide between the three final ideas, we used a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) which revealed the best idea was key-tracking technology – a great benefit to all of us leaving the house in a hurry each morning!

Business lunch seems like a positive aspect of the working world; I helped myself to plenty of everything. In fact, everyone helped themselves to plenty of everything, especially the delicious cake. After lunch, each group worked on a four minute business pitch, which we presented to the business experts, and Mr Ayres, Mr Wells and Mrs Hitchcock, who were now ‘Dragons’.

Each team’s idea was expertly pitched – Jack Breith and his team spoke persuasively about a multipurpose education app, Nick Boardman took the lead in presenting his team’s projector for smartphones and tablets, and Joel Quinn’s team introduced a dual purpose programme for babysitting/tutoring. The Dragons were impressed by all of the products pitched to them and they noted that all of us had been involved in presenting their groups concept, demonstrating real engagement with the task. However, the award for ‘Best Presentation’ went to the education app group and ‘Most Likely Company to Succeed’ went to the smartphone projector group.

Today’s ‘Masterclass Business Day’ was a valuable experience during which we were able to practise planning and evaluation skills and be innovative in our thinking. One comment, made by Liz Losty (my group’s business expert) has stayed with me, she said that ‘the industry you go into might not yet exist’ because some industries she’d worked in hadn’t existed when she was born. I felt that this was an interesting thought to take away and a reminder that the world of work is always full of new opportunities.

Stephen McMullen 10SJ