Over 65 guests gathered at the inaugural West Midlands Apax-Mosaic Enterprise Challenge Celebration event hosted by Bordesley Green Girls School.
The Enterprise Challenge Competition is Mosaic’s largest mentoring programme, reaching over 3000 students in 400 teams across 80 schools. In the West Midlands Region alone 14 schools across Birmingham, Coventry and Walsall participated with a total of 527 students working in 83 teams supported by business mentors from organisations as diverse as Jaguar Land Rover, SGH Martineau, Lloyds TSB, Capgemini and DLA Piper.
Guests were treated to a wonderful evening of speeches and handing out of certificates and prizes to the top 4 teams in the region: in first place Master Plan team from Handsworth Wood Girls Academy who made it to the grand finals, runner ups were 5A’s team from Sidney Stringer Academy, in 3rd place Fortitude Team also from Handsworth Wood Academy and in 4th place Team 3 represented by students at Kings Heath Boys School.
Master Plan team comprising of Year 11 students Lisa, Priya, Tameena, Sridevi, Jaspreet and Katrina pitched their business idea of a reversible printer to a standing ovation. The girls then delighted the audience with a Question and Answer session where they spoke enthusiastically of what they had learnt, how their mentors had supported them and future plans with Tameena commenting: “The competition may now be over, but the benefits of making it to the grand finals in London is that we have won some incredible prizes: we will be attending a very special Enterprise Skills Boot camp provided by The Apprentice Star Melody Hossaini’s InspireEngage company, we will pitch our business idea at the regional finalists of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards and we will be having a day’s work experience with leading management consultants Price Waterhouse Cooper.”
Following the girls Tony Dillon, Head of ICT & Business at Handsworth Wood Girls Academy took to the stage and spoke passionately about the benefits and impact that the competition has had on the girls commenting: “I wanted the Business Studies Department to participate in the Mosaic Challenge for two main reasons: the first was to provide an element of continuity in supporting Mosaic and its work in promoting the aspirations of young people in Birmingham, and secondly to take advantage of the opportunity that it offered the girls to put GCSE theory into practice and thereby support their preparation for the forthcoming examinations.
The competition has been a great benefit to all of the 30 students who took part. The structure of the competition supported the GCSE course that the students were following in terms of theoretical content and also provided them with a valuable online simulation game where they had to select and market a product and achieve the highest possible net profit. In addition the support provided by our two mentors Abigail and Imogen was outstanding as they provided the students with an insight into what was required of them in terms of the various components of the Challenge and coached them well with regards to the simulation game itself. They were also positive role models for the girls to aspire to in the future as young women in the world of business.”
Imogen Francis from SHG Martineau who mentored at Handsworth Wood Girls Academy said: “The Enterprise Challenge has been an absolutely fantastic experience. We have thoroughly enjoyed helping the girls we have been involved with to learn essential business principles, to improve their entrepreneurial skills and to encourage their career aspirations and confidence. We have been impressed with the girls’ confidence and willingness to participate from the very beginning. It has been great to see their ideas come on in leaps and bounds and see them grow in self-confidence. Very well done for their continued effort, determination and ability!” Fellow mentor and co-worker Abigail Halcarz added “It’s wonderful to see 2 teams from Handsworth Wood Girls Academy making it to tonight’s Celebration event – it’s been a most satisfying and rewarding evening and I will certainly be mentoring again next year.”
Chris Brooks from Jaguar Land Rover who mentored students at Perryfields High School spoke about his experiences as a mentor and commented: “I have enjoyed the Challenge very much, and will look forward to taking part again next year. The young people at Perryfields were great to mentor, they were all inquisitive, asked great questions, and came up with great answers.
I really enjoyed the competitive element to the Challenge as well and even though mentoring is quite a difficult discipline, and quite daunting to begin with, the school were very supportive and I’m certain I’ve learnt a few communication skills during the process, and I hope the young people benefited from our help in the same way.”
Following the speeches guests were treated to a wonderful buffet and the opportunity to network and share experiences with Tom Martin, Head of Business Studies at Sidney Stringer Academy adding: “As a school we are always looking for new activities to push and challenge students, as well as give them an insight of what it is like outside of school. Additionally it was another way to build our relationship with Jaguar Land Rover, one of our school sponsors. The students really enjoyed the project and described it as the most challenging but rewarding scheme they had taken part within. This was definitely aided by the mentors who made the whole experience very real for the students. It was refreshing to have people come in from the outside with the level of knowledge and experience, as well treating the students like adults. We will definitely be taking part next year and would strongly recommend other schools to as well.”
Andre Agbamu, Business and ICT Teacher at Kings Heath Boys School remarked: “The Mosaic Enterprise Challenge has been well received at our school. The mentoring from Business professionals from Jaguar Land Rover and Business in the Community, online simulation game and ethical business strategy not only supports the current Business curriculum units but has also created a practical insight to how real businesses operate. This has been very rewarding for our students indeed.
As a school we have participated in the Competition from the very beginning, winning the first ever competition in 2010 and I would definitely recommend this to other schools that have or are looking to embrace business studies as part of their curriculum.”
West Midlands Regional Manager Annalisa Lockett reflected: “What a fantastic evening! Hearing schools, teams and mentors speak so passionately and enthusiastically about their experiences has been so very rewarding. Our Competition is a unique way for young people to gain first-hand knowledge and experience in business principles and install in them a passion and interest in the field. A very special thanks to the companies who donated some wonderful prizes for our teams: Jaguar Land Rover, Samsung, Islamic Bank of Britain and Shabir Nawab of Shabir Nawab & Co Accountants and Chair of the Mosaic West Midlands Regional Leadership Group who donated Apple IPods to the Master Plan girls.”
Mosaic West Midlands are now in the process of recruiting mentors and schools for the 2013/2014 Apax-Mosaic Enterprise Challenge Competition, for further information please contact