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Budding entrepreneurs develop unique new sustainable products in just five days

Entrepreneurs of the future were given the chance to develop their creative and business skills in the latest educational programme designed to help them unlock their potential.

Two teams of young people went head to head in the Creative Enterprise Challenge to meet the brief of creating a new sustainable product, backed by a business and marketing plan, in just five days.

The creative flair and professionalism of both teams of children aged 12-14 was clearly evident in their final products, which were made to such a high standard that they are now available to buy online. One team developed a ‘bee hotel’ to support the bee population over winter, and the other an educational game to help children and adults develop their money and budgeting skills.

Children from schools in Roundhay worked in small teams to develop their products from scratch using recycled materials. These products, created themselves using craft skills learned during their challenge, were pitched to two judges who are successful entrepreneurs in their own right to attempt to secure fictional investment in a Dragon’s Den format.

Judging the teams and their final products in this latest challenge were Claire Clifford, an online marketing specialist and founder of Sunshine Digital Media, and Charlie Beech, who set up his business, Front Row Support, after a career in rugby union. In addition to negotiating potential investment with the team based on their forecasts, they provided real-world feedback to help them improve their products and business concept.

Claire Clifford said: “’I was blown away by the kids that took part, I’ve even told one of them there’s a job for him at Sunshine when he’s 18. They had nailed their brand, marketing and clearly identified their target markets, something experienced business owners struggle with.

“I would have bought the products that were created for my own kids, it was an honour to be asked to take part and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.”

The high level of professionalism shown by the students also impressed Charlie Beech, who added: “I judged the very first two teams that came through the Creative Enterprise Challenge, and I was absolutely delighted to be asked back again.

“I was amazed both times by the quality of not just the products, but also of the business plans and skills of all the children involved. Hats off to Sami and Ian Short at Morley Glass for creating this – I only wish it had been around when I was at school!”

The Creative Enterprise Challenge is the brainchild of Sami Lovett, founder of Just Lovett Design, who wanted to create a “real life ‘The Apprentice’ meets ‘Dragon’s Den’ experience” for young people aged 12-18.

It has been supported from the outset by a Leeds-based manufacturer, Morley Glass, who provide the programme’s main raw material – post-use wooden boxes and plywood – along with additional sponsorship to make it accessible to all.

The programme gives young people a chance to develop their creative skills assisted by Sami, who teaches the students handicraft, graphic design and digital fabrication skills. She also helps them learn essential business skills to enable them to cost out their products with a view to making a profit at retail.

Sami Lovett commented: “What I love about the Creative Enterprise Challenge is the transformation that we see in many of the students over the course of the week. The teamworking, enterprise and creative skills they develop will stay with them for the rest of their lives, so it can be an incredible journey that they go on in the space of just five days, and hopefully some of the children will go on to start up their own businesses in future.”

The next Creative Enterprise Challenge will take place at the Just Lovett Design studio at Sunny Bank Mills, Farsley in the half term between 29th May and 2nd June, with places for ten children available.

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The young entrepreneurs celebrating at the end of the latest Creative Enterprise Challenge with judges Charlie Beech (back) and Clare Clifford (2nd left, back row), plus Ian Short, managing director of sponsor company Morley Glass (3rd left, front) and Sami Lovett (centre, front) who created the programme.

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