Business came back to school at St Teresas school in Stretford Manchester

Jul 21st, 2016 - Last updated at Jul 21st, 2016

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Business came back to school at St Teresas school in Stretford Manchester recently, where a group of 9 and 10 year old children shared their fabulous business ideas with a panel of local Business Angels.

The children had completed the Stepping into Business programme, and so had their teaching staff to ensure they felt confident (if not a little challenged) in working with their class in a supportive coaching environment, letting the children take the lead and helping them when needed.

The class were set a brief around creating a product to promote reading and books, to be sold at their school fair this week. Working in teams with children they'd not necessarily worked with before the children researched their market, found out about their target audience - their likes and dislikes - what sells at a fair, what doesn't - and decided on a product to make. They then worked out what investment they needed and what profit that was likely to return. There was even some negotiation to get some funding from a competitors budget! The children then discussed their route to market, their plans for encouraging sales and their strategy if sales weren't reaching the desired levels by the end of the school fair.

"We'll reduce the price!" "Special offer - Buy 3 for £2.50!"

Over 2 weeks they pulled all this together and presented their fabulous products to a panel of 5 very friendly adults, from very different walks of life, who gave some of their time to come along and provide feedback and support to the children, who were all aged 9-10.

The business panel included GM Chamber members Beth Allen from Penketh group, Paul Winterbottom from The Alternative Board and John Shepherd from Resilience Doughnut UK, as well as John Roberts CEO of Edapt and Usen Antia of JVG Group. “It was a really enjoyable and interesting couple of hours - and so good that children at that age are getting exposure to some business fundamentals” explained Paul.

What concepts were pitched: Alien Knicker Stickers; TBumps T-shirts – ‘Wear the Scare!’; ‘Pro painters’ face-paint kits based on the Hungry Caterpillar, with a VIP painting service; Alien Loves Cakes (as did the angels – see photo!) and the Great Gruffs Felt Playset - a product that demonstrated resilience at it's best, as it was only thought about after several other ideas failed to come to fruition. The team pulled it together just 2 days before the pitch, but it was the nearest thing to a toy shop hit as any of the angels had seen with a long life beyond the fair!

What else? The children, and their teachers, were so pleased to have someone listen to their ideas while the angels were very impressed and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to come along. “I really enjoyed myself and the kids were fantastic - they really were a credit both to themselves and their school” said Beth Allen. The class are selling their products next week... we know they’ll be making plenty of money for their school and for their community.

Why does this matter? If young people have 3 x positive experiences with the world of work, they are less likely to be NEET and more likely to have higher earning potential. It’s really that simple. Projects like Stepping into Business gives learning real purpose, so motivates and engages learners while also building important lifeskills like teamwork, creative problem solving, resilience and adaptability at the same time. If you want to be a person who can make a difference, and help a child to see themselves in a different light, get involved in programmes like ours. As a side effect, we guarantee you’ll enjoy yourself, you’ll be surprised by the ideas and you will certainly leave smiling.. and maybe even get some cake, what’s not to like?