High flying students from Skinners’ Academy in Hackney have pitched their way to business glory after winning the seventh annual Grand Finals of the Mosaic Enterprise Challenge 2015.
Held at the offices of Hogan Lovells LLP in London on 23 April, the event was hosted by TV presenter and broadcaster Natasha Kaplinsky.
In front of a capacity crowd, the students pitched their ideas to a judging panel including Claude Littner, visiting professor at the University of West London, Claude Littner Business School and candidate interviewer on BBC’s ‘The Apprentice’, Mohammed Amersi founder and CEO of Emergent Telecom Ventures and Perween Warsi CBE founder and CEO of S&A Foods.
The rest of the esteemed judging panel included David Hudd, partner and Deputy CEO of Hogan Lovells; Andy Bagnall Director of Campaigns, CBI; Meekal Hasmi, General Counsel EMEA and LatAM, Neuberger Berman; Heather Baker, Presdent of Entrepreneurs’ Organisation UK Chapter, and Melody Hossaini, Founder and CEO, InspirEngage International.
Over 4000 secondary school pupils from over 100 schools across the country participated in the competition before the final five were shortlisted to compete in the Grand Finals. Over 400 volunteer business mentors from organisations such as Marks & Spencer, HSBC, Jaguar Land Rover, PwC and Ernst & Young were allocated to the teams.
As part of the event, Natasha Kaplinsky also hosted a fascinating Q&A session with special guest Lord Rumi Verjee CBE – Proprietor and Chairman of Thomas Goode & Co. Lord Verjee is also a Mosaic supporter and ambassador.
The students from Skinners’ Academy impressed the judging panel with their winning business concept, ‘iRoundUp’ an ingenious yet simple system whereby students can volunteer to donate spare change to a nominated charity from electronic currency stored on their ParentPay school identity cards. The cards enable parents to pay for pupils meals and school trips via online transactions.
As a result of the win, the team has secured a £2,500 cash prize for the school and a £500 seed fund to start up their business. The students were also whisked off immediately after their win on a tour of the ITN News studio, the Bank of England and followed by an exclusive visit and tour of Clarence House.
Jonathan Freeman, Managing Director for Mosaic, said:
“Huge congratulations to the winning team from Skinners’ Academy, who have been outstanding all the way throughout the challenge. We can’t wait to see what they do with their start up! It was a very close decision in the end and all five participating teams did their schools, their region, their mentors and themselves proud.
“Thanks again to everyone who has made the Mosaic Enterprise Challenge a huge success this year, not least of all the hundreds of business mentors that freely give their time to support the young people involved, and our sponsors.”
Chairman of Judges, Claude Littner said:
“The standard of professionalism and creativity shown by the finalists was truly exceptional and the judging panel really did struggle to separate them. It’s encouraging to see such ambition from the students and the Enterprise Challenge certainly brought out their competitive spirit. Their mentors and teachers can be extremely proud of their achievements here today. But there could only be one winner so congratulations to Team iRoundUp on delivering a comprehensive and well thought out business concept with real potential. It will be interesting to see how, with the ongoing support of their mentor, they now bring the idea fully to life.”
Mentor to the students, Brooke Greville said:
“All their hard work has paid off. This is a fantastic achievement for the students who really applied themselves and have approached this with real dedication and professionalism. It’s been a privilege to work with Mosaic and act as mentor to such an impressive group of students. This is a proud day for all of us and an unforgettable experience.”
Rex Lewis, Assistant Vice Principal at Skinners’ Academy said:
“We’re thrilled at the outcome and couldn’t be prouder of the students, who performed magnificently. Their business concept is so exciting and is still in development but already they are in talks with ParentPay to implement it not just locally but nationally too. The potential for this idea to be developed even further is huge and this result is a true reflection of the spirit of enterprise which is a key focus to studies at Skinners’ Academy.”
iRoundUp team captain Daisie Spiteri said:
“Wow! We really can’t believe we’ve won! It’s such a shock and hasn’t even sunk in yet. We’re so pleased to have participated in Mosaic’s Enterprise Challenge and would urge other students to work with their mentors and get involved. As we’ve seen today, the sky is the limit!”
In second place was Langley Academy in Slough representing the South East and in third place, Ladybridge High School from Bolton representing the North West. In return for their achievements, both teams of students secured a cash prize of £2,000 and £1,000 respectively for their schools.
The bar has been raised to a new high in 2015 and we can’t wait for next year’s Enterprise Challenge.