STUDENTS from a Yorkshire secondary school have negotiated their way to victory in the grand final of a national business competition.
The team pitched their ideas to a judging panel including Amber Atherton, from E4’s Made in Chelsea and founder of MyFlashTrash.com; Margaret Mountford, former adviser to Lord Sugar; and former contestants from BBC’s The Apprentice programme, Melody Hossaini and Gabrielle Omar.
After a four-month battle, St Bede’s, with their business idea Trash4Cash, collecting recyclables and selling them to local companies, beat off the competition from over 5,000 other students in Britain to win the national Dragon’s Den-style competition. The team received a £2,500 cash prize and £500 seed fund to start up their business from Mosaic, along with other prizes, following the event at Hogan Lovells in London, hosted by veteran TV presenter, Martyn Lewis CBE.
The Apax-Mosaic Enterprise Challenge is the flagship programme of Mosaic, an initiative of Business in the Community.
Mosaic aims to raise the aspirations of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, through exposure to mentoring and positive role models.
Each year, the organisation supports over 900 students in the region through its primary and secondary school mentoring programmes. Khawar Mann OBE, chairman for Mosaic, said: “Well done to the winning team from St Bede’s, they’ve been absolutely brilliant and we’re looking forward to seeing what they do with their start-up.
“The runners-up came in very close too, and I hope they’ll take part again next year.”
He added: “Thanks again to everyone who has made the Apax-Mosaic Enterprise Challenge a huge success this year, not least of all the hundreds of business mentors that freely give their time to support the young people involved, and our sponsors.”
The business simulation game, for which The Yorkshire Post is a media partner, is backed by the Prince of Wales and some of Yorkshire’s most successful entrepreneurs including Ajaz Ahmed, founder of Freeserve and Legal365.com.
This is the first time that a Yorkshire school has won the competition, which is now in its fifth year. Supported by local business mentors, students learn to establish and run their own business.
Trash4Cash, which was mentored by Noel Stephenson, director of Harrogate marketing agency The Whole Caboodle, competed against five other schools in the regional finals.
Trash4Cash was made up of 12 and 13-year-olds from Year 8 including managing director Mateusz Kucko, Twaanda Sikwesel, Nikhil Mistry, Francis Harrison and Rohan Bingham.
They were some of the youngest participants in the competition.
Speaking to The Yorkshire Post after the regional finals, Rohan said: “It’s a huge boost to take forward the idea in the real world.
“We hope to really improve our local community environment and make profit to improve our school and develop a legacy for the school to continue.”