Spen Valley High School came out on top as five schools from Yorkshire locked horns today in the Yorkshire regional finals of the Enterprise Challenge competition.
Headingley Carnegie Stadium, the home of Superleague stars Leeds Rhinos, provided the perfect venue for competitive business pitching in front of a high calibre panel of Yorkshire judges.
Following introductions from Varinder Dhaliwal, Head of Strategic Space Planning with Marks & Spencer and compere for the day, all five teams took the floor to present their social enterprise ideas to the judging panel in front of them together with an audience of business mentors, teachers, friends and family all looking on. At stake – a place at the National Grand Finals in London next month.
The schools taking part included Moor End Academy, The Freeston Academy, Fir Vale Academy Trust, Spen Valley High School and Park Lane Learning Trust/Crossley Heath.
The judging panel was chaired by Ajaz Ahmed, founder of Freeserve and Legal 365, Suzanne Robinson, a partner with EY, Naomi Rainey, business reporter on The Yorkshire Post, Simon Stell, Managing Partner at LCF Law, Zulfiqar Baig, Global Operations Director at iBoard Touch and Jasbir Athwal, Deputy Lieutenant for West Yorkshire.
727 secondary school pupils from 23 schools participated in the competition before the final five were shortlisted to compete in the regional final, which was generously supported by GibbsS3. Individual mentors helped the teams, guiding and advising them at each step of the way in the development of their business concept.
Delighted winners ‘Team Money Makers’ from Spen Valley High School were declared the regional winners and the second announced finalist for the Grand Finals event, after Harborne Academy secured the first regional spot for the West Midlands.
‘Team Money Makers’ presented their business concept concisely and with real passion. The three strong team comprised of Alfie Broadfield (14), William Yeung (13) and Asad Isfahani (14). The idea behind their social enterprise is a website on which users buy and sell unwanted school books and school uniform. Members of the local community can also donate items which can be sold online rather than being thrown away and ending up in landfill. Judges were impressed with the organisational thinking behind the enterprising idea which included delivery and collection points, and positive aspects associated with recycling and reusing educational items.
Team Money Makers member, Alfie Broadfield said: “We really can’t believe we’ve won and actually thought we’d come third! And as this is the first time we’ve entered we’re even more delighted to be able to represent Yorkshire at the Grand Finals in London next month. We’re all really excited about it and can’t wait to try and do Yorkshire proud. We’ll definitely give it our best shot!”
Chairman of Judges Ajaz Ahmed said: “It’s great to see the kids having the confidence to get involved with initiatives such as Mosaic’s Enterprise Challenge, a programme I was involved with last year as well. This really does bring the best out in them. The quality displayed by the regional winners is outstanding and in many cases better than some of the professional entrepreneurs who I see on a daily basis!”
Special guest Griselda Togobo, entrepreneur and Managing Director of Forward Ladies, addressed the audience and relayed how she had overcome challenges and taken all the opportunities open to her. She also spoke to the teams and congratulated them on their confidence, creativity and early signs of real business promise.
She said: “I’ve been very impressed with the confidence shown by everyone who presented today. It takes real guts to get up and do this and I couldn’t have done it at their age. They’re all winners! I can’t wait to see what they are doing in the next 5-10 years.”