Given the resources and a team of peers around you, what sort of business would you have started when you were 16 years old? Over 50 young people aged 15-19 years visited the Deutsche Bank Auditorium this month to show us how it’s done. The students were part of the Young Entrepreneurs Programme, run by the charity Young Enterprise and funded by Deutsche Bank.
Participants have the chance to learn about business and entrepreneurship in practice: groups of school students together form small companies, making and selling a product or service of their choice.
Young Enterprise’s interim Chief Executive, Catherine Marchant, said, “Over the last year these student companies have elected a board of directors, raised share capital, marketed their brand, sourced finances and then sold their products and services throughout their communities with the help of local business volunteers and their teachers. They’ve learnt through hands on experience what it takes to be an entrepreneur.”
This year’s businesses included; ethical and environmentally friendly jewellery, recycled CDs and DVDs cases and reusable heat pads. The process is about learning employable skills, but it is also about fun and competition. Over the course of an academic year, the student companies participate in regional competitions and trade fairs. Winners from each of these regional competitions will have the opportunity to attend a national competition.
The project has been so successful that in 2011 we expanded to include Liverpool and Birmingham, supporting over 1,500 young people from challenging, inner city schools. In 2012, we hope to expand to Scotland as well.
Volunteers from the business community, including Deutsche Bank employees, have been mentoring and advising the student companies about various aspects of their business. Colin Fan, Head of Global Credit and Emerging Markets here at Deutsche Bank, judged the London regional final. “I was impressed by the standard of ideas that these young people produced - in particular the way they converted those ideas into products and services with true value."