Enterprise Week 2008 aims to put young people in the business ‘hot seat’ and help formulate new creative companies

Published: 20 October 2008 at 11:53

School and college students compete in ‘Dragon’s Den’ business presentations while advice is given to those who want to break into the creative arts and media sectors

Anglia Ruskin University is staging a week of special activities to mark international Enterprise Week 2008 (17-21 November), the biggest annual celebration of all things enterprising across the UK.

The week is run by the Make Your Mark campaign which aims to kick-start a more enterprising culture among young people in the UK encouraging them to initiate creative ideas, communicate effectively, influence, plan and organise.

The activities involve Year 10 students and college students from the area who will be introduced to some challenging and inspiring activities by students and staff from Anglia Ruskin University’s Ashcroft International Business School.  The schools and colleges involved have been selected from Cambridge, Peterborough, Bury St Edmunds and Norwich.  They include Ely Community College, West Suffolk College, Orton Longueville, who were 2007 winners, Paston College, Ken Stimpson Community School and Cambridge Regional College.

Last year over 448, 000 people took part in over 3,184 events nationwide.

The activities include running a Business Planning Competition for five sixth-form groups from around the Cambridgeshire area. Part of the activity will be self-guided study and workshops co-ordinated by staff from Anglia Ruskin but staged at the participating schools and colleges.                 

The rules will include that the business has to be a social enterprise and that the idea has to benefit the locality.  Last year’s ideas included ideas to combat traffic congestion, recycling and waste reduction, and community cohesion. Other proposals were centred on health issues including obesity and mental health.

The groups will also be told that they need to pay special attention to the ‘triple bottom line’ of their business which means they will need to be able to justify the decisions they have made from an environmental and social perspective, as well as the more traditional financial approach.

Marc Rothera, Education Liaison Officer at Anglia Ruskin University explained:

"We do want to inspire young people to make things happen, whether they are starting up their own business or social venture or by making their mark at work. Cambridge particularly is a hot bed of ideas and it is up to all of us – and especially teachers, parents and employers – to support these young people along the way."

At the same time, groups of Year 10 students from 5 local schools will be taking part in an enterprise challenge organised by the University. The groups will be given a brief to design a product not currently on the market, secure funding in order to make the product and produce an advertisement which will appeal to their target audience.  The groups will then ‘sell’ their products to a group of judges.

On Friday 21 November the business planning competition teams will be on campus for a ‘meet the experts’ session to help prepare them to present their plan to a ‘Dragon’s Den’ team of judges with all teams and an audience in attendance. £5 000 worth of prizes including laptops, mini laptops and ipods will be presented to team members by the Vice Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University, Professor Michael Thorne, at the end of the day.

During this special week, another event will also be staged entitled Arts into Business which is aimed at budding entrepreneurs with creative arts and media ideas.  The event, on 19 November, is aimed at those with arts, creative or media skills who at some stage want to set up their own enterprises.  Business experts and former students will be on hand to give advice to those considering starting up a new business venture.

Leader in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, at the Ashcroft International Business School, Robert Jones said:

"Every week is Enterprise Week at Anglia Ruskin University, but this particular national event flags up the importance of innovation and the drive for success that every thriving business hub needs to maintain its position. Cambridge is very fortunate in that it is leading the way in terms of high technology business, creative arts, the media and social enterprise. It is therefore the perfect environment for the launch of the most eclectic variety of new businesses and ideas."

Professor Martin Reynolds, Dean of the Ashcroft International Business School, said:

"Anglia Ruskin University is the regional hub for enterprise. Many people living in the region need to know this as many individuals have exactly the right qualities needed to develop a business idea. What we need to do is make them aware of the opportunities available to them during Enterprise Week."