Five pupils from a Birmingham school got the better of the city’s very own Dragon’s Den when they walked off with the main prize at the first West Midlands Enterprise Laboratory ‘Eureka Rocket Challenge’.
‘Ice Cream’ – the brainchild of Hamstead Hall Community Learning Centre sixth form pupils Sukhraj Chohan, Luke Anthrobus, Tashan Elliott-Smith, Shakiel Reid, Ebnul Ahmed – impressed judges from the private sector with its ability to create a social enterprise that would help boost the skills of young people. The idea focuses on providing a host of workshops during half-term week where local experts such as DJs, musicians and dancers will come in and pass on their knowledge to the pupils.
At the end of the week, all of this learning will be channelled into a spectacular concert that can be used to raise funds for the school.
The event was organized by the Women’s Business Development Agency (WBDA), Ernst and Young and the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust.
“For the West Midlands to be successful we need to encourage enterprise at every level and giving young people the chance to take part and learn about the world of business is essential,” said Sally Arkley, Director of WBDA.
“We had six different social enterprises from Hamstead Hall and Holyhead School take part and there were some excellent examples of entrepreneurial skills, creativity and good commercial acumen.
“Ice Cream had an exciting concept based on a sound business model, they all presented the proposition well and answered with confidence questions posed by the judges. The fact they were also looking to raise the skills agenda was also a big plus point.”
The Eureka Rocket Challenge asked the 16-18 year-olds to find solutions to a problem by researching, planning and organising an event through the launch of a sustainable social enterprise.
They had to work together to develop the idea, test it out, draw up the financial forecasts and then present to a judging panel that also featured Juliet Bain (Ernst and Young), Angela Maxwell (Advantage West Midlands Enterprise Board) and Lorraine Cookson (Birmingham City Council).
Ice Cream picked up a cheque for £250 for winning the main prize, which will be used by the school to promote enterprise activities across Hamstead Hall Community Learning Centre in Handsworth Wood.
“We are delighted to work with Ernst and Young and WBDA on this fantastic event and it was great to see so many talented young people with a good social conscience,” added Angela.
“Developing young people is a priority for the Enterprise Board and, through the Young People Enterprise Centre of Expertise, we are engaging with more budding entrepreneurs than ever before.”