Young Hunts entrepreneurs take first step to fortune

WOULD-BE Richard Bransons and Anita Roddicks took one step nearer national recognition for their business acumen by winning a Cambridgeshire round of Young Enterprise 2011 staged at a Christmas bazaar in Huntingdon’s Commemoration Hall.

Sixteen teams from Cambridgeshire schools faced not only the judges but the acid test of whether they could persuade members of the public to buy from them.

The teams, set up only three months ago at the start of the academic year, have between then and next spring to establish their companies, develop the goods and services they will sell, do the business and then wind their companies down.

The most successful of them – including the four that prevailed in Huntingdon – will go on to regional and national finals of the Young Enterprise Scheme.

Chairman of the YE organising board for the area Chris Newsome, pictured presenting an award to the team from St Ivo School, said: “The prospect of having your brand-new products or services scrutinised by a group of bargain-hungry local Christmas shoppers would be enough to challenge even seasoned businesspeople but the youngsters have stood up extremely well to the challenge.”

Mr Newsome chaired the panel of five judges, which also included the Federation of Small Businesses’ Stephen Birch, managing director of Bierce Technical Services (a Hunts Post Business Awards winner), Helen Donnellan, economic development manager for Huntingdonshire District Council, the council’s cabinet member for resources and policy, Cllr Ken Churchill, and Ian MacKellar, business editor of the Hunts Post.

The winning teams out of the 16 exhibiting were ‘Ngage’ from Kimbolton School for the best demonstration of innovation (with a new method of printing individual silk ties), ‘Ceres’ of St Ivo for the best customer service for its cereal-based alternative to a hot water bottle, ‘Elle’ from Witchford Village College for both best marketing and best product (a safe and tidy device for charging mobile phones and iPods) and ‘Chameleon’ from Wisbech Grammar for best trade stand promoting a variety of products.