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Young Gifted Midlands Entrepreneurs Win Trip to New York

Originally Published 24 March 2004

Six bright young enterprising entrepreneurs, aged 14-15, from St Michael’s Church of England School, Rowley Regis, West Midlands, will soon jet off to New York having just won the top prize in a young entrepreneurs competition run by the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth (NAGTY), based at the University of Warwick.

Sponsored by Goldman Sachs and designed to provide entrepreneurship skills to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, the scheme is helping gifted students reach their true potential. The new initiative is raising aspirations amongst the gifted by enabling them to gain experience of setting up a business.

The Goldman Sachs Scholars from St Michael’s Church of England School won as their initiative, named ‘Odyssey’ and spanning the retail and service industries, showed a real ability to adapt to changing circumstances and meet the needs of customers.

So far the serial entrepreneurs have raised a total of over £1,000, and their project is set to continue in the next financial year.

The students initially bought stationary from liquidated stock sold it onto students, at marked down prices. The money raised went into their next venture, which involved setting up a tuck shop that successfully competed against the school cafeteria by offering students healthier options. Proceeds from their stationery sales have now gone to providing a locker service for students in the school, and this is set to start in the near future.

The national programme has run since November 2003, and has helped over 100 young entrepreneurs gain hands-on experience of running a mini-business. Training has also been taken place locally, and there are now 17 new businesses at large in the country, with their owners experiencing all the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, including the thrill of making money.

In addition to having operated a profit making private enterprise, the young entrepreneurs crafted their own business plans and prepared professional presentations. This involved carrying out market research and marketing, which included making business cards and putting up flyers and posters.

Professor Deborah Eyre, Director of the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth, based at the University of Warwick, said: “Encouraging entrepreneurship is a component in raising aspirations amongst young people. It entices students use their own initiative and enables them get a real taste of business-life. Starting a new business isn't easy, especially if you have no formal business experience, but the Goldman Sachs project shows how entrepreneurship, when nurtured, can thrive – even on a small scale.”

For more information and high resolution images contact: Jenny Murray, Press Officer, University of Warwick, Tel: 02476 574 255, Mobile: 07876 2177 40 School contact: Richard Barfoot, St Michael’s Church of England School, Rowley Regis, Tel: 0121 5595 224