550 youngsters show enterprise

Teenage entrepreneurs from across Oxfordshire will gather tonight to battle it out to become the Young Enterprise company of the year.

Eight companies in the scheme, which involves groups of youngsters setting up and running their own firms over the course of an academic year, have won through to the county final of the competition which will be held at the Said Business School.

Each will make presentations to an audience of more than 200 business people, academics and teachers before a high powered panel of judges decides the winner.

That company will then go on to contest the regional final on June 12 and hopefully follow in the footsteps of last year’s winner, Cosmic Enterprises from Oxford High School.

Cosmic went on to the national final after devising green board game Mission Earth which ultimately went on sale at shops across the country.

One of the firms going for glory is Vision, a 16-strong team from Burford School which has developed an ice scraper for cars attached to a glove, so making winter defrosting more comfortable.

The company arranged to have the products made by specialist manufacturer Tracy Adams of Leamington Spa and have sold them at trade fairs and through the school.

Sales and marketing manager Ryan Beckett, 17, from Carterton, said: “It has been a huge learning experience. The biggest challenge was learning how to work together as a team and making sure people communicated effectively.”

Teacher Anne Lenton added: “They did very well to arrange to have the product manufactured and I am thrilled they have reached the county final.”

A total of 43 companies with 550 pupils from schools around the county have been involved in Young Enterprise this year with eight competing in the final.

The companies involved are Inspire from The Warriner School, Bloxham; Retrospect and Buzzin’ from The School of St Helen and St Katharine, Abingdon; Opus and Quad from Oxford High School, Oxford; Vision from Burford School; Hakuna from Tudor Hall School, Banbury, and St Clare’s Enterprise from St Clare’s College, Oxford.

Teams will also be competing for a range of other prizes including a new award for best use of social media and the Oxford Mail trophy for best media coverage.

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