STUDENTS from schools across the South-West are going head to head to be crowned Young Enterprise Company of the Year in the national finals in London next month.

Young Enterprise, the UK’s largest enterprise education charity, sees 250,000 students from all over the country take part in their company programme, in which they set up and run real businesses with the support of business mentors, each year. The programme is designed to offer an insight into the world of work and how business skills can be utilised.

The students of one of this years’ shortlisted schools, The Park School in Somerset, will be competing with their company ‘Appy Days. ‘Appy Days have created an app for tourists.

Alex Murphy, 15, is student and on the ‘Appy Days team. Alex says, “We’ve really enjoyed setting up our own business. It’s been very different to our traditional subjects and has allowed us to pull together several different skill sets. We’ve all been able to take on different roles within the group, each finding and then playing to our strengths to produce the end result. There have certainly been ups and downs but that is what the whole course is about, the most important thing however is that we’ve worked through it together and pushed forward as a team.”

Sue Hutton, a teacher at the school said, “The students involved with the ‘AppyDays YE company have been on an incredible journey. They have held business meetings, developed an amazing product and most recently organised a product launch which was attended by the mayor of Yeovil as well as local businesses and the press. Through great team work and resilience they have overcome many obstacles and through YE have the basis of a very successful business model designing trial apps for museums. In the future they plan to set up as a Limited Company. There is no doubt that the YE Company Programme pushes young people to use practical skills and enables young people to transfer some of the skills they pick up in other subjects into real life situations.”

Pupils from across the country have been given the opportunity to sell their products across Asda stores and the overall winners will be invited to Asda’s HQ in Leeds to meet senior executives and departmental managers, to learn how a big business works.

Hannah Cook, Young Enterprise Regional Manager for the South West says, “With eight innovative companies from across the South West this final promises tough competition. Every year companies are inspirational in their achievements with this year’s students raising the standards yet again. These 8 companies are the pinnacle of an amazing year in the South West which is due to the amazing support from local businesses, volunteers and schools.” Michael Mercieca, CEO of Young Enterprise said: “We are really proud that young business minds from the South West will be showcasing their entrepreneurial talent at the final. The professionalism of the young people involved is always highly impressive.

“The Company Programme brings out the ambition and enthusiasm amongst the South West’s young people as they showcase the businesses that they have been running for the last year. Through this experience the students pick up a lot of the soft skills, such as teamwork and communication, which they will need as they look for their first job.”