Students from Plymouth are crowned Best Company in the YE Devon Final

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Young entrepreneurs have impressed the YE Devon Final judges with their educational book which teaches children about the importance of the journey of the food they eat.

Devonport High School for Girls’ company Phoenix produced a colourful recipe book called ‘Footsteps of Food’ to inspire the next generation to learn about what they consume.

Phoenix aims to improve children’s understanding of the kitchen; encourages children to try healthier alternatives; learn about food miles; the importance of where their food comes from and locally sourced ingredients; and having fun growing their own seeds.

The student team won the second round of the YE Company Programme 2020 competition by impressing the judges with their business concept, great use of promotion, clear brand and ability to overcome challenges. Phoenix scored the highest overall to scoop the title Best Overall Company, sponsored by the University of Plymouth; as well as the Best Teamwork trophy, also sponsored by University of Plymouth, for their great team planning; and Best Customer Service award, sponsored by Wolferstans Solicitors, for demonstrating great customer engagement.

Phoenix Managing Director Cara Jamieson said: “The Young Enterprise competition has allowed me and my team to gain a better insight into what it means to bring a business idea to life and a product to the market. We have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and its challenges, which have been greater than we anticipated due to the current situation. However, we had invaluable support and advice from our business mentors and sponsors. This process has helped me to develop business and leadership skills and I believe we have all grown as a result of the journey.”

Two teams entered the Somerset Final, with the title Best Overall Company, sponsored by Claims Consortium, being awarded to Biscup, from Taunton School. Biscup’s mission is to provide an environmentally-friendly and sustainable alternative to conventional single-use plastic/paper takeaway cups by selling edible and biodegradable cups to businesses and consumers. Made from natural grains and cereals, the Biscup is a tasty, crispy and suitable alternative for all kinds of hot and cold beverages.

Following the Coronavirus outbreak and ensuing school closures, contingency plans were put in place to enable the participating schools to submit their entries digitally. Teams were invited to submit a company report; a photo of a trade stand and video presentation showcasing their achievements.

The judges: Toni Brien, Flying Fish Seafoods HR Manager; Alice Edwards, University of Plymouth Faculty Outreach Officer; Sue Hill, Claims Consortium Learning and Development Manager; Michael Stewart, Independent Business Consultant and Sally Bell, Openreach’s Head of External Communications scored the teams in various categories.

Plymouth High School for Girls’ company Scentimental produced a handmade, scented revision set, comprising scented candles and pencils to help aid memory recall. They won the Marketing Trophy, sponsored by The Range, The Best Presentation Trophy, jointly sponsored by The Range and former YE LVB Plymouth Chair Joan Melville; and The Most Innovative Product, also sponsored by The Range. The judges thought the concept of producing a non-medical support product for students was very original and well-researched.

The Best Financially Managed Award, sponsored by Bishop Fleming Chartered Accountants, went to Holesome from Kingsbridge Community College which produced a sustainable card game called Chin-Wag, featuring a local business sponsor on each card as well as a selected sustainability tip to encourage people to live a more ‘wholesome’ lifestyle.

The Sustainability Trophy, sponsored by the University of Plymouth, was awarded to Bee Bothered for its eco-friendly greeting cards designed and printed by the team and containing a heart-shaped origami sachet of flowering plant seeds.

YE Area Manager Stephanie Anderson, said: “The YE Company Programme is an effective springboard to help youngsters achieve sought after employability and leadership skills. This year all the students had to show exceptional resilience and determination and exceeded our expectations. They should all be justifiably proud. “We all need to thank YE’s sponsors, business advisers, teachers and judges for their continued support in these unprecedented times. By investing in our youngsters, we are investing in our future economy.”

The winners of the Devon and Somerset Finals will now go through to the SW Regional Final which will be judged on June 2nd.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic YE was positioning itself as the leading financial literacy, enterprise and entrepreneurship charity for young people in the UK. Every year YE works with over 250,000 young people, supports over 9,000 teachers in both enterprise and financial education, with the help of more than 7,000 volunteers and 3,500 businesses. Since we were established, over 4 million young people have taken part in Young Enterprise programmes in the UK. For details about the SW Regional Final Contact Maggie Ayre at [email protected].

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 Devon Final represents an inspirational journey with many months of hard work, teamwork, creativity and resilience; congratulations Holesome. 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.”