Two pupils from Altrincham Grammar School for Girls have scooped the winning prize in an enterprise competition run by specialist finance provider Together, walking away with £2500 for their school and an iPad each.
Shu Fei Chen and Zara Akhtar are studying business and economics at A-level and gave a compelling presentation of their concept, VEALITY – a creative arts therapy centre to help people suffering from mental health issues.
Shu Fei said the idea for the non-for-profit organisation had resulted from the statistics that one in four people will suffer from some sort of mental health issue in their lifetime. She added that the opportunity had given her more confidence, whilst Zara said it had been “a great experience of how the business world works.”
All the budding young entrepreneurs who participated had prepared a detailed business plan, with schools running the first round and selecting their winning group, who then presented to the judges at Together in the exciting finale.
Business teacher at Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, John Murray said: “It’s been a very well-organised competition which has given the girls the opportunity to develop their skills and apply their business knowledge.”
Commercial CEO at Together, Marc Goldberg, who was one of the judges, said: “We were so impressed with all the finalists who took part. The standard was exceptional and the amount of research and level of detail that had gone into the many different business ideas was just incredible. However, VEALITY really stood out, so they were very worthy winners. I’m very proud also of the group of colleagues here at Together who devised the competition and launched it to schools for the first time this year. We’ve had great feedback and look forward to taking this out even more widely next year to schools across the country.”
Second prize went to Neston High School in Chester, with pupils Callum Whatling, Jamie McGilloway and Ben Leadbetter winning their school £1000 and receiving a £50 Amazon voucher each for their care home business idea, developed in response to the ageing population and the growing demand for care.
Their business studies teacher, Paul Reilly commented: “It’s been a fantastic opportunity. The students did a huge amount of research and they learned a lot about teamwork and presenting – we’re really proud of them.”
In third place, Urmston Grammar School won £500, with students Lucy Cooke and twins Ella and Freya Bhika also winning a £25 Amazon voucher each, thanks to their market hall idea which was inspired by Spitalfields in London.
Teacher Mark Brassington, said: “We’re so proud of the team, particularly as they’ve only just started business studies GCSE and were up against older students. They put in a lot of effort so it was fantastic that their hard work was recognised.”
The Let’s get Going enterprise scheme was launched in schools and colleges across the region earlier this year, to give young entrepreneurs a taste of what it takes to make a commercial vision a reality.
Students who made the final presented their ideas to members of Together’s executive team: commercial CEO Marc Goldberg, personal finance CEO Pete Ball, commercial director Chris Baguley and finance director Helga Wright.
Let’s get Going is part of the company’s wider ‘Let’s make it count’ initiative which spans charity, community and the environment and recently received the ‘Excellence in CSR’ award at the Stockport Business Awards.