We have officially launched the 2013/2014 cycle of the Apax-Mosaic Enterprise Challenge! The launch took place on the first day of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) on 18th November at Westminster Kingsway College in London. GEW will run for the week of 18-24 November 2013 under the theme ‘encouraging aspiring’ which is about encouraging existing entrepreneurs to ‘take a step forward’ with their idea or business.
Students from Southfields Academy, who came third in the final of the 2012/2013 Apax-Mosaic Enterprise Challenge, met Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills the Rt Hon Vince Cable MP, and also addressed a series of questions to a panel that included some well known entrepreneurs.
On the panel was Luke Johnson Entrepreneur, Author and Chairman of Risk Capital Partners and the former Chairman of Channel 4 television. Luke also writes a weekly column for the Financial Times and wrote for the Sunday Telegraph for eight years. Luke gave an inspiring and sometimes comical speech about his journey to success where he shared tales about his many ventures that failed before he found success. Luke talked about how he sees ‘failures as tough lessons’ and how in business ‘risks are worth considering.’
Also on the panel were: Amma Mensah, Founder of Beyond the Classroom, an education social enterprise which uses theatre and mentoring as tools to teach life skills. Rob Forkan, co-founder of Gandys, a flip flop brand with the purpose of giving back to orphans in less developed countries. Rob and Paul Forkan, the two brothers behind Gandys, set up their Orphans for Orphans mission after being tragically orphaned themselves as a result of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami in the Indian Ocean. Roberta Lucca, Co-founder, CMO and Board member of Bossa Studios, a Games start-up based in London Tech City, was also on the panel. Since it was founded in 2010, Bossa Studios has won a BAFTA, a Develop Award and launched five games in multiple platforms.
Southfields student Ivelina Mladenova asked: “How did you overcome giving in to people who doubted your dream about being successful in business?” Luke answered: “Willpower and persistence.” Ama responded: “Entrepreneurial spirit and turning doubt into a positive thing.” Roberta added that Something inside of her was telling her to just go for it and take the risk. Rob added: “Surround yourself with positive people and have your doubters watch and admire.”
Zumra Khan from Southfields asked: “How important is the use of social media in your business?” Rob said it was very important as a post on Facebook generated 100million views in 24hrs, which helped spread the message of what his company stands for. Roberta added: “Social media is crucial to engage with your audience as it allows you to have direct contact with them.”
Southfields student Abdul Rafay asked: “How did you decide that you had the right skills for this type of business?” Ama responded: “It just happened, it wasn’t decided. Learning more about what I do has allowed me to learn more about myself.” Luke added: “You don’t always have to have the skill set. What most people do in business is recruit people in areas that you lack. Some people are better at starting businesses than running them!”
Finally, Southfield student Ruth Boakye asked: “What were the main highs and lows in the first year of your business?” Roberta replied: “Hard work and long hours. Uncertainty and every day is a new day.” Ama said that the greatest things can also be the worst and vice versa. Rob added: “Getting that first order and engaging people who are interested in your brand. Going direct to the source, taking risks, knocking on peoples’ doors and remembering the worst anyone can say to you is no!”
Mosaic’s National Director, Jonathan Freeman commented after the event: “What a launch for our Apax-Mosaic Enterprise Challenge 2013/2014! And what an experience for these students. Southfields Academy has a history of success with the Challenge; pupils from the school won the overall competition in 2011/2012 and the group that was here today came a respectable third in last year’s final and are themselves now peer mentoring the team going forward from the school for 2013/2014! This really is such a fantastic example of how participating in the Challenge provides our students with ongoing opportunities.”
The Apax-Mosaic Enterprise Challenge 2013/2014 will support almost 120 schools and 5,000 students in five regions of the UK including London, Oxford, Woking, Milton Keynes, Slough, Birmingham, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton, Manchester, Salford, Liverpool, Bolton, Blackburn, East Lancashire, Leeds and Bradford.
Find out more about the Apax-Mosaic Enterprise Challenge 2013/2014