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A new challenge begins

Mosaic helping pupils ‘Make It Happen’ with the Enterprise Challenge 2016 Jonathan Freeman November 26, 2015: As Managing Director of social mobility charity Mosaic, I have the pleasure of seeing at first-hand the positive impact of the work that we carry out in underprivileged areas. I’m proud of all of our programmes — in primary and secondary schools, prisons as well as those running internationally....

Mosaic helping pupils ‘Make It Happen’ with the Enterprise Challenge 2016

Jonathan Freeman

November 26, 2015: As Managing Director of social mobility charity Mosaic, I have the pleasure of seeing at first-hand the positive impact of the work that we carry out in underprivileged areas. I’m proud of all of our programmes — in primary and secondary schools, prisons as well as those running internationally.

November is a particularly exciting month for the Mosaic team as it sees the start of our annual Enterprise Challenge competition, launched during Global Entrepreneurship Week (November 16-22, 2015).

The message for the week is ‘Make It Happen’ and this is exactly what the Enterprise Challenge is designed to do; it is an annual competition running in UK secondary schools with the aim of fostering and promoting entrepreneurial skills amongst pupils.

Last year, nearly 4,000 students from over 100 schools took part and after a series of regional and national finals, the overall winner was a team from Skinners’ Academy, a secondary school located in Hackney, North East London.

The winning team – ‘iRoundUp’ – wowed the panel of judges, comprised of some the best business brains in the UK, including The Apprentice’s Claude Littner, with an idea for a smartphone app that rounds up students’ payments for things such as school meals on their payment cards, and then donates the excess generated to charity.

It’s one of those ideas so simple, yet so brilliant that you wonder why no one had thought of it before! But the fact that a team of young people from Hackney came up with it as part of the Enterprise Challenge makes me very proud indeed.

The scheme, with help and backing from Mosaic, is now entering the early stages of professional development with Parent Pay, with a full launch scheduled for 2016. This is a considerable achievement.

View a video from last year’s grand final below – the excitement and pride of the winning team speaks for itself.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOA4UjdsZS0

One of the many things that makes the Enterprise Challenge special is the support given to participants by volunteer mentors from the business community.

Last year, over 400 mentors were allocated to teams from businesses, including Marks and Spencer, Jaguar Land Rover, Ernst and Young, PwC and HSBC.

These mentors gave their time freely to guide and advise the teams, bringing both their comprehensive knowledge of the real world of business but also serving as an example to the students of exactly what is possible through high aspirations and hard work.

The feedback from mentors throughout the history of the Enterprise Challenge has always been positive and unified by an observation that the young participants show verve, creativity and an impressive business acumen for those so young.

In many cases, mentors say that their involvement is purely consultative, ready to advise where necessary, but often standing back and marvelling as project after project is born thanks to the endless supply of energy from students.

We have a proud tradition of entrepreneurial success in the UK and figures such as Richard Branson, Peter Jones and James Dyson are worthy ambassadors for what is possible when you match a good idea with large reserves of energy and determination.

We have a proud tradition of entrepreneurial success in the UK and figures such as Richard Branson, Peter Jones and James Dyson are worthy ambassadors for what is possible when you match a good idea with large reserves of energy and determination.

Too often, however, youthful effervesce and the almost instinctive creativity of pupils in schools throughout the country is stifled by socio-economic factors beyond their control.

What the Enterprise Challenge seeks to achieve, and indeed why Mosaic was founded by HRH The Prince of Wales, is to demonstrate to our young people that they have the potential to achieve wonderful things regardless of their background or circumstances.

This is why we run the competition and why I can’t wait to be wowed by the ideas that the students will present to us in 2016, and I hope you will be joining me as a mentor for one of our finalist schools.

Jonathan Freeman is Managing Director of Mosaic

For more information on becoming a Mosaic mentor, please call 020 7566 8734, visitwww.mosaicnetwork.co.uk or email mosaic@bitc.org.uk

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