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FSB supporting Yorkshire’s future entrepreneurs

Students from six schools and colleges in West Yorkshire pitched their business ideas to a room full of business owners in May to see who would win this year’s Young Enterprise competition.

With schools tending to focus on academic attainment and employers often finding key skills lacking in young job applicants, the Young Enterprise Company Programme helps to equip students with the essential skills they need for the workplace.  The programme is aimed at 15 to 19 year-olds and it involves the students setting-up and running a real-life business for a year.  

Jane Walton, Chair of West Yorkshire Young Enterprise, said, “The students on the Company Programme gain hands-on practical and invaluable experience.  They make all the decisions about their company such as creating a business plan, managing the company finances, selling to the public and ultimately winding the company up and paying their taxes.  All this takes place with the support of a volunteer Business Adviser who brings a wealth of business knowledge and expertise.”  

Apart from helping young people to develop vital skills that employers want, the programme has also been a source of inspiration to future entrepreneurs.  Former students who have participated in the Company Programme across the UK have gone on to start their own business ventures after leaving education.

Potential business leaders competing for the top prizes in this year’s West Yorkshire competition, were students from Shipley College, Kirklees College, Lightcliffe Academy, Colne Valley High School, Guiseley School and Brighouse High School.

There were six awards up for grabs including Best Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which was won by Story Makers of Colne Valley High School, Best Financial Management, Best Communication and Teamwork and Best Marketing, Sales and Customer Focus.  The students who bagged the top prize of overall winners of the West Yorkshire final were Teenwork from Brighouse High School.

Leeds Branch Chairman Simon Monaghan said, “The Young Enterprise West Yorkshire Awards were excellent.  There were some really great business ideas amongst the students and Jane Walton and her team did a fantastic job of organising it.”