School Children Crowned Leading Entrepreneurs

Following a gruelling national competition between schools across the UK, students from The Priory School in Shrewsbury have been crowned winners of the 2014 Ryman National Enterprise Challenge for Key Stage 2.

Funded by the UK’s leading awarding body, OCR, the Ryman National Enterprise Challenge provides tailor-made, real life business projects that encourage students to develop their skills around leadership, time management, teamwork, confidence, communication and public speaking in a safe environment, whilst being supported and endorsed by real businesses.

The finalists were tasked with developing a pencil case for national stationary business, Ryman, and included a competitive pitch between 100 schools, plus a Q&A session with Dragon’s Den stalwart Theo Paphitis.

The students at The Priory School, aged 11-12, scooped the title for their winning pencil case prototype, ‘Graphoto’.  Aptly named, the pencil case is made out of a specialist washable fabric as well as plastic photo holders, enabling owners to personalise the case to their own tastes.

Charlotte Bosworth, Director of Skills and Employment at OCR comments: “It’s our belief that every child should be given equal opportunities, which is why we were delighted to help fund schools across the UK to enter this national competition.  Best of all is the fact that one of our sponsored schools won! 

“It’s wonderful to see students as young as 11 years of age competing at such a high level, creating innovative products which would genuinely appeal to the mass market. Who knows, we may well be seeing some of the winners on the real Dragon’s Den in years to come!”

The competition, the Ryman National Enterprise Challenge, is an inter-school competition open to secondary schools across the UK, and seeks to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and assist young people in developing key life skills. The competition relaunched for 2014-15 earlier this month at a grand event with guest speaker Theo Paphitis, at Staffordshire University in Stoke-on-Trent.

Carol France, Enterprise Co-ordinator at The Priory School in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, said: “Taking part in the Ryman National Enterprise Challenge has been a brilliant experience for the students, providing a unique opportunity for them to really think outside the box, whilst also teaching them the very valuable skills in a practical way.”

Reiterating the success of this year’s programme, stationary tycoon Theo Paphitis was so impressed with the prototype, he has commissioned the product for one of his Ryman stores – with the first batch of pencil cases expected to be on the shelves of the Shrewsbury Ryman branch in November this year. As part of the prize, the students also won a day trip to Alton Towers, where they were treated to a private talk demonstrating the rides, as well as a tour of the park.

Carol continues: “We’ve been really impressed with the students’ ability to take on such a huge challenge; at The Priory School we are committed to developing students’ enterprise skills to ensure they are ready for the world of work. We’re all eagerly awaiting the launch of the Graphoto pencil case in the Shrewsbury Ryman store when we can see the product come to life – it’s very exciting!”

Ben Dyer, Founder and Managing Director, National Enterprise Challenge, added: “We are delighted to have delivered yet another successful campaign which we simply could not have done without the support of organisations such as OCR, who, through their strategic aims and business enterprise training courses, show they support the ambitions of our younger generation to understand the world of business and entrepreneurship.”

As well as supporting entrepreneurs at grass-roots level through the Ryman National Enterprise Challenge, OCR supports business enterprise through its own bespoke set of qualifications, including the award in Business Enterprise (levels 1-2), which provides candidates with a high quality, vocational qualification that allows young people to further develop and underpin their knowledge of business strategy and logistics, supporting them in setting up a business.

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Pete White Pete White

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