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Video: YE Company Programme South West Final 2020

4 June 2020:  Students from Balcarras School have been crowned Best Overall Company at the South West Young Enterprise Regional Final. The final (held digitally this year instead of in person due to the Covid-19 pandemic), on 2 June 2020, celebrated the achievements of students who have set up and run a company over the academic year as part of the Young Enterprise Company Programme, supported nationally by HSBC UK.

Seven student companies from the South West competed across seven categories – Best Presentation, Innovation, Customer Service, Financial Management, Sustainability, Marketing and Teamwork – with a prize for each. The winning team, Memento from Balcarras School, will go on to represent the South West at the UK Company of the Year final and could potentially represent the UK in the JA European Final.

Young Enterprise is a national charity which works to equip young people with the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to succeed in the changing world of work. Our Vision is that every young person is given an equal opportunity to learn the vital skills needed to earn and look after their money, to develop an enterprising mindset and to make a valuable contribution to their communities and wider society.

This year, students across the country have set up companies over the academic year, making all the decisions about their business, from deciding the company name and product, to creating a business plan, managing their finances and selling their products – despite challenging conditions due to Covid-19.

The winning team Memento created and sold a block and card-based game that helps those with dementia to reminisce and reconnect with others through the stimulation of long-term memory.  Charlotte Wright, a student from the winning team, said:

“The Memento team have worked together over the past 8 months to create a product that we are all passionate about. From the first idea to the final product, this has been an incredible experience which we have shared as a group, and we are immensely proud of our achievements and the success of the team.”

The companies were judged by; Ben Lavery, Leonardo Helicopters, Graham White, Bonus Projects, Louise Wadsworth, Cherwell, Julie Hawker, South West Business Council and Sean Capstick, Lyreco.  The judges also awarded Best Presentation, Innovation, Customer Service, Financial Management, Sustainability, Marketing and Teamwork awards to students from St Mary’s Calne, St Peter’s School, Bournemouth and Devonport High School for Girls, Plymouth.

Young Enterprise research shows Company Programme participants develop key employability skills and a longitudinal study of Company Programme alumni has shown that in the two years following the programme, 94% are in education, employment or training [EET] – 5% higher than the national rate.

Sharon Davies, Chief Executive of Young Enterprise, said: “Reaching the Company Programme South West final represents an inspirational journey with many months of hard work, teamwork, creativity and resilience; congratulations Memento.  The experience and skills students from every team will have developed will stay with them for many years to come and will make a tangible difference to their futures. Students have shown particular resilience this year by continuing with their product development and sales despite school closures”. 

Ian Stuart, HSBC UK CEO, said: “As businesses large and small are facing new and unprecedented challenges to meet the needs of their customers and wider stakeholders, it’s more important than ever that we support and nurture young, innovative entrepreneurs across Britain. The resilience and leadership shown by year’s cohort of Company Programme finalists is inspiring, and we look forward to their continuing success in the months and years to come.”

Louise Wadsworth, Customer Advocate Team Manager at Cherwell, said: “ It was simply inspiring to be a judge for the Young Enterprise South West region Finals, it was evident all individuals involved had clearly put a tremendous amount of effort into their respective company and they should be all commended for the fantastic outcomes achieved. It is also refreshing to see a strong focus from the finalist companies on addressing growing challenges presented in our world today such as mental health, waste disposal and childhood obesity. It looks like the future, is in safe hands.” 

Sean Capstick, Public Sector Sales Manager at Lyreco, said: “It was a privilege to be given the opportunity to judge the South West finals.  I was particularly impressed with the quality of the submissions and the financial success the enterprises delivered.   All participants should be really proud of themselves and the evidenced business skills they have developed during the process.”

The schools competing in the South West Young Enterprise Company Programme Final were:

  • Perspective – ‘Note to Self’ book. A collection of art, anecdotes, and articles with a personal viewpoint on a key topic – St Mary’s, Wiltshire
  • Happy Bean Co. – lesson plans designed to help year 6 children cope with mental health issues in a unique, fun and memorable way – St Peter’s School, Dorset
  • Memento – A block and card-based game that helps those with dementia to reminisce and reconnect with others through the stimulation of long-term memory – Balcarras School, Gloucestershire
  • Biscup – An edible cup made from natural grains and cereals – Taunton School, Somerset
  • Phoenix – ‘Footsteps of Food’ is a recipe book designed to inspire children to learn about the journey of the food they eat – Devonport High School for Girls, Devon
  • Atal Mor – Environmentally friendly coasters, cup-cosies and dog wetsuit – Truro and Penwith College, Cornwall
  • Infinity Strawz – A reusable alternative to the plastic straw – Clifton High School, West of England