Steven Mugglestone

The more I learn, the less I know

Young Enterprise Impress Again!!

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……which is why we support Young Enterprise and Young Entrepreneurs

For another year, I had the absolute honour and privilege to join the judging panel for the West Midlands finals of Young Enterprise 2012, held in the Great Hall at Birmingham University, having been included on the judging panel for 2011.  The winners having already sold their innovative laser cut vinyl album clocks to a trade fair in Switzerland.  There is the obvious saying about selling coal to Newcastle, but these young entrepreneurs from the Black Country actually sold clocks to the Swiss.

For those who have never heard of or seen any of the great work they do, check out their website at Young Enterprise and you will see how this charity seeks to inspire young people throughout the UK, to set up and run their own businesses over the course of nearly a year, being mentored and supported by teachers and voluntary business advisers.  From their establishment in 1963, Young Enterprise, have continued to forge relationships between education and the business community and have been responsible for inspiring thousands of young entrepreneurs.  It is also part of the global Junior Achievement Worldwide organisation, helping to reach 9.7million students across 123 countries.

Six young businesses reached the West Midlands finals, having won their respective local regional events.  Their businesses, whilst very much commercial and making profits, also touched upon strong current themes of social enterprise, recycling and the environment, retro designs and multicultural education.  The winners go on to the UK finals in London, where the standard of business ideas and development will be astounding to anyone who has not already been involved in what Young Enterprise does.

All the positives and excitement
The really great thing about the young entrepreneurs who take part in this journey from business novice to budding entrepreneur is that it always reminds me about what is so good about developing businesses.  All of the positive energy, the bright ideas, the sheer enthusiasm, the innovative ways of reaching markets and building contacts, the reward of seeing something develop and a business grow is all there.  What are not there are the egos, the cynicism, the blame culture, the negatives, the traits you see time and time again on the likes of The Apprentice (and unfortunately in the grown up business world as well), which is also the reason that I prefer to watch Young Apprentice as all of these positives are so obviously illustrated in that program as well.  Young entrepreneurs take the challenges as they are, challenges, and deal with them creatively and positively.  This was in abundance with all of the business teams on show at Birmingham University.

It’s a serious competition
It is no doubt that Young Enterprise is a serious competition as well.  The teams are judged on innovation, product development, their overall business report, their financial reporting, questioning from meeting with them at their trade stand, their slick Powerpoint presentations to a large audience and their creative advertising media and branding.  They are supported and mentored by both teachers from their schools and colleges as well as voluntary business advisers helping support and develop Young Enterprise and the young entrepreneurs themselves.

It was also interesting to be made aware of the gritty competitiveness of the advisers and teachers, in a way that is similar to the TV program Glee, in that they all seek to polish their performances and maximise every area of the judging criteria.

Interesting and completely relevant all of this is, what becomes apparent is that the judges actually judge and choose the overall winner as if they are a real business, which in essence they very much are.  My judging panel included fellow judges who were part of HSBC Bank, University product development experts, social media and branding advisers, past winners and representatives of the Federation of Small Business.  Discussions and the overall selection of the winner centred very much on the belief that this was the best credible business, that not only had a real chance of future commercial success, but one that the judges themselves would be willing to invest in, which is how it should be.  It may be a competition for young minds, but the business ideas and potential were very much real.

It always inspires us to help young entrepreneurs further
Young Enterprise serves as a reminder as to how business can inspire and give opportunities to a wide number of young people from all areas of society and not just the privileged few.  It also reminds us that the future of UK Plc very much depends on the young entrepreneurs of today and tomorrow, which is a key reason why we continue to help, support and mentor young entrepreneurs who approach ourselves for support and business advice.  Our own belief that the local, regional and UK economy as a whole, depends on the continued development of young entrepreneurs and we as a business set ourselves very much as a part of that positive approach.  Judging by the standard of young entrepreneurs on display in Birmingham, UK Plc does have a positive future and so do all of them.

As for Young Enterprise, long may it continue to do the great work that it does, but it is a charity and does require financial support as well as the voluntary support of mentors, advisers and even judges.  I would recommend everyone to visit their website, Young Enterprise, and get involved in whatever way you can.

Steven Mugglestone BA FCA,
Finance Director Services
McGregors Corporate, Entrepreneurial Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers
…….Really good for your business

McGregors Corporate are a Member of Probiz Tax, providing Innovative Tax Solutions to Owner Managed Businesses.

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Written by Steven Mugglestone

June 25, 2012 at 12:57 pm

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