Budding entrepreneurs from St Bede’s Catholic Grammar School have been crowned the Yorkshire winners in a Mosaic business competition backed by the HRH The Prince of Wales, and local business people including Ajaz Ahmed, founder of Freeserve and Legal365.com.
Hundreds of students from schools across the region have been competing in the Apax-Mosaic Enterprise Challenge, a business simulation game, since January 2014. Supported by local business mentors, they learn to establish and run their own business, with the five highest scoring teams getting through to the regional finals.
The Apax-Mosaic Enterprise Challenge is the flagship programme of Mosaic, an initiative of Business in the community. Mosaic aims to raise the aspirations of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, through exposure to mentoring and positive role models. Each year, the organisation supports over 900 students in the region through its primary and secondary school mentoring programmes.
The business idea devised by the winning team – Trash4Cash – involves collecting all recyclables and sell them to local recycling companies in order to improve the local environment, and assist community cohesion.
This year’s judges included Bana Gora, CEO of the Muslim Women’s Council, Tariq Shah a Mosaic board member and director of Vigo Group, Shaid Mahmood from Leeds City Council and Ajaz Ahmed. He said:
“The Apax-Mosaic Enterprise Challenge is a wonderful initiative that helps to improve the skills and aspirations of young people, and enables them to meet people they can aspire to be like.
“I was really impressed by the Yorkshire teams and I am sure we have some Richard Branson’s of tomorrow among them! Congratulations to the winners of the regional competition.”
The winning team will now participate in the high profile national Grand Finals event taking place in London in May. Here they will deliver a Dragon’s-Den style pitch to compete for a £2,500 cash prize for their school, and £500 seed fund to start their business idea.
Rohan Bingham, speaking on behalf of the winning team from St Bede’s Catholic Grammar School, said:
“It’s a massive competition that has given us lots of experience and confidence. It’s a huge boost to take forward the idea in the real world. We hope to really improve our local community environment and make profit to improve our school and develop a legacy for the school to continue.”
The finals event, which took place at the University of Leeds, included 30 students from 6 local schools. The runners-up were:
– 2nd place – team Pro Skills, Allerton High School
– 3rd place – team Diamonite, Freeston Academy
– 4th place – team Men In Black, Lawnswood School
– 5th place – team Act Now, South Leeds Academy
– 6th place – team First Ladies, E-ACT Leeds East Academy
The competition is co-sponsored by the Apax Foundation, and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) as part of its commitment to enable people able to realise their potential to get on in life, irrespective of their background.