Ladybridge High School in Bolton emerged victorious as four schools from the North West pitched their hearts out today as part of the North West regional finals of the Mosaic Enterprise Challenge.
The new offices of KMPG at the heart of Manchester in 1 St Peter’s Square, provided the impressive host venue for the competitive business pitching event under the scrutiny of a senior panel of judges, representing the best of the North West’s business community.
The teams took the floor to present their social enterprise ideas to the judging panel with a place at the National Grand Finals in London next month up for grabs. Whilst judges deliberated on their decision, the teams and audience were treated to inspirational insight from Harry Potter actress Afshan Azad, who was a keynote speaker at the event, with local radio presenter Alex James from Key 103 Manchester compering the day’s proceedings.
Afshan is known for her performances as Padma Patil in the Harry Potter films, starting with 2005’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. She earned the part when casting agents visited her school, and having attended several auditions, chose her for the part. Speaking immediately after the event, Afshan said: “It’s been an incredible afternoon. You can really see just how much the children have benefited from the experience. The competition is a great way of motivating youngsters and building their entrepreneurial skills which would otherwise be out of reach”.
Schools participating in the regional finals included Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, Parrs Wood High Scool in Didsbury, Broadgreen International School in Liverpool and the winning regional finalist, Ladybridge High School from Bolton, who pitched as ‘Team Bake Inc’.
Their winning business concept was a baking business within their school community designed to help internal catering students gain invaluable practical skills, whilst tending to the needs of their school community. They now go on to represent the North West region in the Grand Finals in London on April 23rd.
Speaking about their win, team member Khadija Toppa speaking on behalf of Ladybridge High School commented; “We’re still in shock to have made it to the national final! After a nerve wracking but fun day, we are so happy that all our hard work with our mentor has paid off.”
Mosaic mentor at Ladybridge High School, Maqsood Khan, from the Crown Prosecution Service, added: “I am overwhelmed by the journey that these young people have been on. From the first mentoring session where we met shy students, lacking in confidence to the impressive, self-assured business pitches they have made today makes me believe in the impact of mentoring and the difference we can make”.
The judging panel consisted of Jonathan Holt (Chairman of Judges) – Senior Partner, KPMG; Iqbal Ahmed OBE – Chairman and Chief Executive, Seamark Group; Aneel Mussarat – Founder, MCR Property Group; Gillian Easson – Chairman of Stockport NHS Foundation Trust; Irfan Ravat – Partner, Ravat & Ray, and Uzair Bawany – Chairman, Mosaic London & South East and Mosaic Board Member.
Speaking about his involvement, KPMG’s Jonathan Holt said: “We’re proud to continue our association with Mosaic which is a fantastic organisation, encouraging young people to achieve their potential. Today’s competition makes me confident about tomorrow’s business leaders.”
Over 870 secondary school pupils from 26 schools across the North West 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.