The 2016 Mosaic Enterprise Challenge Finals took place on the 4th of May at Hogan Lovell’s International in London, which myself and Richard had the pleasure in attending.

                This year has been bigger and was more fiercely contested than any of the previous years. The challenge this year reached 4898 students in 105 schools across six regions in the United Kingdom, and these students were supported by 531 volunteer mentors. 2016 was the first year to have a winning school from Scotland, the first year in which Scottish schools have entered.

                The Enterprise Challenge is an inter-school business competition which is designed to inspire and encourage entrepreneurial behaviours and enthusiasm about business and the student’s future careers.  Secondary students aged 11-16 were invited to join the competition and were supported by business mentors who assist all students through the different stages of the competition. . The Enterprise Challenge is in its 8th year and Totem Learning has supported the competition with ‘The Business Game’ from the start. Students use the game to practice the skills they learn throughout the competition.

                Last year’s winners from Skinners Academy in Hackney pitched their way to success and Clint Wilson, Chief Executive at ParentPay Ltd, announced on the day that their business concept ‘iRoundUp’ will go live this Autumn across 6000 schools, being the first winning concept to go commercial.  

                The day kicked off with a fantastic compare Charlene White, journalist and broadcaster for ITV News, who struck a perfect balance of professionalism and entertainment. Then onto an introduction from Johnathon Freeman, Mosaic’s Managing Director, who has been with Mosaic since January 2011. He spoke so proudly of Mosaic and the Enterprise Challenge and thanked everyone who was a part of this year’s Enterprise Challenge. After a 5-minute video about the build up to the day and a quick re-cap of the rules for the presentations, the competition kicked off with the first 3 presentations from St Thomas Aquinas Catholic School in Birmingham, Altrincham Grammar School for Girls in Manchester and Dixon Kings Academy in Bradford.

                Mid-way, Saeed Atcha, radio presenter, youth charity CEO and CEO of Xplode magazine, made a speech on how far he has come since he, himself in 2011 took part in the Enterprise Challenge. He led his team to come 1st in their region, and 3rd in the national challenge. He said

I know how you’re feeling, as I too was sat where you are. I was nervous and anxious but I was so excited too!” 

                The rest of the teams then presented their ideas. Eden Girls School in Waltham Forest, Rivers Academy in Feltham and Hollybrook Academy in Glasgow.

                Charlene asked the judges to leave the room to deliberate while she went on to tell the students what prizes were up for grabs. She even said herself, “I can’t lie, I’m well jel”. The winning team would win £2500 for their school and £500 seed fund to help make their winning idea a reality. After the final, all the teams would be treated to a trip on the London Eye and a Duck Tour of the Thames. And the winning team would enjoy a thrilling helicopter ride over London! They would then join the other teams for tea at Harrods. Charlene then introduced us to James Caan CBE, CEO of Hamilton Bradshawone and a former Dragon on the hit BBC show Dragons Den, and Soloman Ian-Sangala, Founder of AttireX, who answered questions from the competing students.

                The judges made their decision. And the winning team was . . . Eden Girls School, Team S-MART with their idea for a secure online trading portal in which pupils can buy and swap anything from unwanted school books or calculators to their own art pieces. The Year 7 girls are the youngest ever to win the competition narrowly beating Team ‘Hand-Up’ from Dixon Kings Academy in Bradford and Team ‘Eazo Peazo’ from Rivers Academy in Feltham.

The Pupils from Team S-MART said:

We just can’t believe it. This feels like a dream. We worked really without mentor on the idea and we knew it was good. But to win is just amazing. The competition has taught us so much, especially about being confident when standing up and talking in front of other people”.

The team’s teacher said:

The girls have been relentless and have worked every possible hour on their idea. All of us at the school are so proud of them. Their mentor was absolutely brilliant and worked very hard with them, not just on the idea itself but also on their presentation skills”.

                It was an amazing and inspiring event! I am so proud to be part of such an amazing and life changing competition for these young people. Mosaic reach so many students each year and give them wonderful support to help grow Britain’s entrepreneurs of the future. 

By Charli Simpson

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