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Entrepreneurial students compete in grand final of Aldermore business challenge PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 24 November 2015

On Friday 20th November, students from across the UK visited the London Stock Exchange to battle it out to be crowned 2015 champions in the national final of the SKILL! programme, an enterprise initiative created by Patrick Philpott from Visionpath Education and run in conjunction with Aldermore. SKILL! is designed to help students aged between 14 and 16 to develop work-related skills such as collaboration, communication, clear thinking and creativity.

The SKILL! national final coincided with Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) - the world’s largest campaign to promote entrepreneurship. Each year, it plays a role in encouraging the next generation of entrepreneurs to consider starting up their own business.

The teams from Harrop Fold School and Loreto High School in Manchester, Nene Park Academy in Peterborough and Reading Girls’ School travelled to London to pitch their ideas to a panel of business experts in the ‘Tiger’s Cage’. The winning team from Harrop Fold School came up with the inventive Ecoheart fashion range idea which sees used plastic bags being combined with other materials to create a fabric to produce comfortable and eco-friendly clothing. The team won a £1,000 enterprise fund to promote business skills in their school.

The ‘Tigers’ included Bill Turnbull, the BBC Breakfast presenter; Aden Levin, Director at Mainstage Travel who has been successful in Dragons’ Den; Grant Morris, CEO of Elite Associates Ltd, a luxury consultancy and recruitment business and Aldermore customer; Aldermore’s CEO Phillip Monks, and Carl D’Ammassa, Aldermore’s Group Managing Director of Business Finance.

Kerry Winter, Whole School Lead for Student Progress at Harrop Fold School, said: “We are extremely proud of our students for winning here today. All of our pupils who have been involved in SKILL!, both in the original workshop and today’s national final, have gained a great deal from the experience and really enjoyed the opportunity to test their entrepreneurial flair.”

Aden Levin, Director at Mainstage Travel, said: “We have seen some fantastic ideas here today. I was really inspiring by the pupils who participated in the final and hope that they have picked up some essential skills that will prove valuable after they have completed their education. The SKILL! programme is an excellent way to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and I feel very proud to have been a part of it.”

Phillip Monks, Chief Executive Officer at Aldermore, said: “I would like to thank all of the students who took part in today’s final and congratulate them on their efforts. We were very impressed with the calibre of the ideas pitched to us and it was difficult to choose just one winner. Many of Aldermore’s customers are entrepreneurs and by supporting the SKILL! programme, we hope to encourage the entrepreneurs of the future.”

Ahead of the national final, Aldermore held SKILL! workshops with pupils from schools in Manchester, Peterborough and Reading. Each workshop saw the students separated into groups and challenged to come up with an innovative business concept, with the Aldermore mentors on hand to help them develop their ideas during the course of the day. This activity culminated in the groups pitching their ideas to a panel of business experts. Since then, the winners and runners-up from each workshop have been taking part in weekly sessions with Aldermore mentors to help them hone their ideas and pitches ahead of the national final.

Aldermore has partnered with SKILL! for the past three years. The programme offers an opportunity for young people to learn first-hand from experienced business mentors, gaining confidence and practical skills such as presentation techniques and teamwork.

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