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In the fourth of his monthly columns, Jonathan Freeman writes about the Enterprise Challenge 2015 Jonathan Freeman April 21, 2015: The Mosaic Enterprise Challenge, generously supported by the Apax Foundation and Nectar Trust, is a fully immersive, business-based annual competition for secondary school students across the UK, designed to develop and encourage their entrepreneurial skills. This year’s challenge has brought out the best in the UK’s...

In the fourth of his monthly columns, Jonathan Freeman writes about the Enterprise Challenge 2015

Jonathan Freeman

April 21, 2015: The Mosaic Enterprise Challenge, generously supported by the Apax Foundation and Nectar Trust, is a fully immersive, business-based annual competition for secondary school students across the UK, designed to develop and encourage their entrepreneurial skills. This year’s challenge has brought out the best in the UK’s young business brains ably supported and encouraged every step of the way by their enthusiastic mentors. The standard every year never ceases to astound the judging panels and 2015 has seen the highest calibre of pitches and concepts so far. I think we can safely say that the bar has been raised to new heights in 2015.

The format is straightforward. Teams of students work with a mentor from their local business community to learn about becoming future business leaders, play an interactive simulation game and come up with first class business ideas that would give the contestants of the BBC’s Dragon’s Den a run for their money!

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been privileged to witness some real bright young things giving it their all in the Enterprise Challenge regional finals. This not only instils confidence in me about tomorrow’s business leaders but also a sense of pride. We’ve had everything from a baking business that helps internal catering students gain invaluable practical skills whilst also meeting the needs of their school community to a smart system whereby students volunteer to donate spare change from their electronic currency via their school ID cards.

It was fitting that this year’s Enterprise Challenge was launched during Global Entrepreneurship Week. As the world’s largest campaign promoting entrepreneurship, it plays a significant role in encouraging the next generation of entrepreneurs to consider starting up their own business. Mosaic’s Enterprise Challenge shares similar goals and objectives and Global Entrepreneurship Week provided the perfect launchpad for this year’s Challenge.

Since launching this year’s competition, Mosaic has delivered the Enterprise Challenge to 100 schools, involving 4,000 students and supported by a network of 400 dedicated mentors. This was carried out across five key regions of the UK, including London, the South East, West Midlands, the North West and Yorkshire. The five highest scoring schools in each region are then invited to compete in the regional finals throughout March.

The five winning schools this year demonstrated real business acumen, a quality that each of the five esteemed judging panels was looking for. The finalists who go on to proudly represent their regions, are:

London: Skinners Academy from Hackney; North West: Ladybridge High School in Bolton; South East: Langley Academy from Langley in Berkshire; West Midlands: Harborne Academy, Birmingham, and Yorkshire: Spen Valley High School from Liversedge, West Yorkshire.

The Grand Finals take place on April 23, 2015 in London and the winner will receive a superb package which includes £2,500 for their school (£500 of which is for the students to invest in their business idea) together with an unforgettable afternoon with their mentor and a teacher in London in the company of some of the most talented and inspirational figures in British business.

The event — which is also part of Responsible Business Week 2015, a high-profile awareness week, run by Business in the Community — is hosted at the London offices of international law firm Hogan Lovells LLP in London. Responsible Business Week aims to demonstrate the ways in which business can work together with other organisations to deliver a fairer society and more sustainable future

The event will be compered by TV personality and popular broadcaster Natasha Kaplinsky and the judging panel of inspirational entrepreneurs chaired by Claude Littner from The Apprentice.

Mosaic Apax Enterprise Challenge National Final 2014 Last year’s Enterprise Challenge Grand Final was won by St Bede’s Catholic Grammar School in Bradford, West Yorkshire so the pressure is on the students from Spen Valley High School to help Yorkshire retain the title for 2015.Most importantly however, the winning school is supported by Mosaic to develop and launch their business idea with their prize money.

We wish all our finalists and their mentors the best of luck for the Grand Final and, as we reach the business end of Enterprise Challenge 2015, our attention turns to the search for outstanding contestants for next year, made possible thanks to the support and guidance of our mentors.

If you would like to help inspire and guide these young adults to help them reach their potential and would like further information about mentoring or any of the Mosaic programmes, please call 020 7566 8734, visit www.mosaicnetwork.co.uk  or email: mosaic@bitc.org.uk

Jonathan Freeman is Managing Director of HRH The Prince of Wales’s charitable mentoring initiative Mosaic (www.mosaicnetwork.co.uk) 

Also Read:

Leading by example

Economic sustainability? Grow your own entrepreneurs 

Giving back to society

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