The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Stephen Williams MP, has met over 100 young budding entrepreneurs at Westminster Academy – all hopefuls in a national business competition.
The annual Apax-Mosaic Enterprise Challenge aims to increase the students confidence and employability. Professional mentors work with the students to develop their entrepreneurial and business skills, with teams presenting their business idea at a finals event in May.
At Westminster Academy the mentoring is delivered in partnership with Marks and Spencer (M&S), whose dedicated team of volunteers give up their time to support students throughout the challenge.
Mr Williams was able to see a mentoring session with some of the 105 entrants – including a live business simulation exercise – as pupils geared up towards the competition. He also received a tour of the Academy by pupils and their mentors.
Minister for Communities Stephen Williams said: “Westminster Academy not only has an excellent record of academic results with seven out of ten pupils getting five or more good GCSEs, but it is now going further still to establish itself as a business and enterprise focussed academy, teaching entrepreneurial skills to large numbers of its pupils. Across the country the government is co-funding 5,000 places like this for pupils to learn business skills and to encourage children from all backgrounds to get involved and create the business leaders of tomorrow.”
Competition for the Apax-Mosaic Enterprise Challenge is fiercer than ever this year, with around 5,000 hopefuls from across the country vying for the coveted prizes – and the chance to receive a stamp of approval for their business idea.
Dr Saima Rana, associate principal (curriculum and assessment) at Westminster Academy, said: “This partnership with Mosaic has not only widened students’ horizons, but has raised their aspirations, ambitions and attainment – which was reflected in last year’s Outstanding Ofsted grading. The exceptional contributions from Mosaic business mentors who volunteer their time and experience make a real difference and continues to change lives.”
The initiative is co-sponsored by DCLG as part of its commitment to enable people to realise their potential, and to increase educational aspirations and enterprise. Its support has enabled significant expansion of the initiative to involve more pupils than ever in this year’s competition.
Jonathan Freeman, national director at Mosaic, said: “This is a fantastic example of how the voluntary sector, government and business can work together to develop raise the aspirations and attainment of young people, regardless of their background. It’s thanks to the support of DCLG, M&S and Apax, that we’ve been able to engage so many young people from Westminster Academy in the scheme, a very remarkable achievement indeed.”
Adam Elman, head of global plan A delivery at M&S, said: “We’re proud to be working with Mosaic and Westminster Academy. By giving their time to share professional skills, knowledge and experience our volunteers make a big impact on the young people involved and also take a great deal from it themselves, gaining valuable coaching experience.”
Past winners of the Enterprise Challenge have received funding for their school, iPads, and the opportunity to meet high profile entrepreneurs and public figures – including HRH The Prince of Wales, James Caan and Jamal Edwards.